Plett flies its six Blue Flags high
Despite being a small coastal holiday destination, Plettenberg Bay has become one of the top towns in the country flying the prestigious Blue Flag.
Plett was awarded Blue Flag status for six of its beaches, which means the town has the second-most Blue Flag beaches in the Western Cape – just behind Cape Town which managed to secure 10 sites. It also means that Plett has the third-highest number of Blue Flag sites in the country, close on the heels of the Ray Nkonyeni municipality in Kwazulu-Natal, which was awarded seven.
Plett’s Blue Flag beaches for the year include for the ninth consecutive year Robberg 5, Keurboomstrand – which managed to secure this accreditation for the seventh year, Nature’s Valley for a sixth year, Lookout beach for a fourth time, The Dunes for a second year and – the newest to join Blue Flag status – The Singing Kettle beach.
In addition, Offshore Adventures added to Plett’s achievements with both of their boats, Robberg Express and Oceanic Express, receiving Blue Flag status for the year.
Applications for the prestigious Blue Flag ecolabel were reviewed earlier this year and put through a rigorous approval process involving both national and international assessments. The announcement of the international Blue Flag results revealed that a total of 44 South African beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status this year, along with seven marinas and 11 sustainable tourism boats.
The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites, with 28 of the beaches, all 11 boats and six of the seven Blue Flag marinas falling in the province.
“We are honoured to have another beach awarded Blue Flag Status for 2017/2018 and to receive the same accolade for two of Offshore Adventure’s boats,” said Plett Tourism media manager Patty Butterworth.
“The beaches and water-based activities are two very important components of our tourism strategy. The addition of these awards are testament that all role-players involved with beach development and marine activities are committed and understand the key role that tourism plays in our community.”
The Blue Flag Programme, which has been running internationally since 1987, is focused on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to raise environmental education and awareness, and increase sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach management.
To achieve the status, as many as 33 different criteria spanning over four aspects of coastal management have to be met: water quality; environmental education and information; environmental management; and safety and services. The criteria are assessed by the international coordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Each site is compelled to conduct several environmental education activities during the year and to practise effective and efficient conservation management.
Lookout beach is just one of the six beaches around Plett that was awarded Blue Flag status for the upcoming season.