Pilot Blue Flag status awarded
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