Pi­lot Blue Flag sta­tus awarded

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Gugu Myeni

SIX north coast beaches have been awarded Blue Flag pi­lot sta­tus with the sea­son set to open next month.

Blythedale, Salt Rock, Wil­lard, Tin­ley Manor beaches in KwaDukuza and Dokod­weni South, as well as Tugela Mouth in Man­deni have all been awarded pi­lot sta­tus for the 2018/19 sea­son.

These beaches have been recog­nised for work­ing to­wards meet­ing the min­i­mum re­quire­ments for Blue Flag sta­tus in safety, ameni­ties, clean­li­ness and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

This was an­nounced by the na­tional Wildlife and En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety of South Africa (WESSA) at the sea­son launch in Mos­sel Bay.

WESSA said they will work with beach man­agers and tourism Blue Flag beach ste­wards to­wards the long-term goal of achiev­ing full Blue Flag sta­tus.

The Western Cape achieved the high­est num­ber of Blue Flag sites, with 30 beaches, 12 boats and seven mari­nas be­ing ac­cred­ited.

The Eastern Cape has been awarded one Blue Flag ma­rina site, and re­tained their seven beaches. KZN has been awarded nine Blue Flag beaches.

Speak­ing at the launch, Na­tional Depart­ment of Tourism’s Di­rec­tor of Pro­gramme Plan­ning and Im­ple­men­ta­tion, Pa­tience Molokoza, said: ‘Through pro­grammes such as the tourism Blue Flag beach ste­wards that is im­ple­mented by WESSA, we can ad­dress the is­sue of South Africa’s youth un­em­ploy­ment.

‘This pro­gramme is meant to ca­pac­i­tate the youth and pro­vide skills train­ing and de­vel­op­ment.

‘Pro­grammes such as these would not be pos­si­ble if it were not for part­ner­ships with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties,’ she said.

Molokoza ap­plauded WESSA for their in­volve­ment in this pro­gramme.

‘The Blue Flag project has a num­ber of high­lights. We have man­aged to ed­u­cate and train more than 14 000 peo­ple over a pe­riod of two years.’

Gen­eral Man­ager of the eco­tourism unit, Vin­cent Shacks, said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, mari­nas and boat op­er­a­tors who have achieved pres­ti­gious Blue Flag awards are sus­tain­able tourism cham­pi­ons.

‘All South Africans should be proud of these achieve­ments. Blue Flag is a vol­un­tary eco-la­bel, so all of the ef­fort and fund­ing that is put into im­prov­ing these sites is done in the in­ter­est of those us­ing them.

‘We are es­pe­cially in­spired by those sites where mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, the business sec­tor and lo­cal res­i­dents are all work­ing to­gether to main­tain this stan­dard of ex­cel­lence.’

Blythedale Beach in KwaDukuza

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