Zululand Observer - Weekender
Blue Flag status a boon for tourism
THE awarding of full and pilot Blue Flag status for KZN beaches will be beneficial for tourism in the province.
This according to MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala who applauded the announcement by Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA).
With nine beaches in KZN receiving full status, six north coast beaches were awarded pilot status.
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.
The announcement was made by WESSA ahead of the season which will commence on 1 November.
Zikalala said this is an indication that the province is doing its part towards protecting the environment from pollution and man-made degradation while ensuring that the reputation as most preferred domestic tourism destination is not compromised.
‘Looking ahead, we now want to ensure that we expand our Blue Flag beaches by converting the status of those beaches that have been identified as pilot sites,’ Zikalala said.
He added that the province would continue to upgrade and maintain its beach recreational facilities and maintain the highest environmental standards in order to meet and even surpass the Blue Flag standards.
In order for a beach to be awarded this prestigious status it must comply with a set of stringent criteria set by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa and Blue Flag such as water quality, environmental, management, safety and security, environmental education and information.