Blue Flag project set to enhance beach goers experience this summer

2016-11-30 06:00
The Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom (middle), with some of the Beach Stewards from the newly launched Tourism Blue Flag Project.                                                             Photo: SUPPLIED

The Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom (middle), with some of the Beach Stewards from the newly launched Tourism Blue Flag Project. Photo: SUPPLIED

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THIS summer the newly launched Tourism Blue Flag project will see the deployment of 200 beach stewards at Blue Flag sites around the country, with the aim of improving the experience of both local visitors and domestic and international tourists at our beaches.

The Tourism Blue Flag project will benefit fifty beaches along the South African coastline by providing improved tourism facilities and services, while the beach stewards themselves will receive accredited training in environmental education with the ultimate goal of developing them for further employment in the coastal tourism sector.

Some of the beaches that will be affected include Hobie Beach, Humewood Beach, Kings Beach, Birah Beach and Hamburg Beach.

This exciting new three-year coastal tourism and youth development project is being implemented by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) in partnership with the National Department of Tourism.

The beach stewards are being hosted by local coastal municipalities and will be easily recognisable to beach goers in their project branded apparel.

They have completed their induction training and are looking forward to interacting with visitors on Port Elizabeth Blue Flag beaches over the coming months.

Activities one can expect to see rolling out at participating Blue Flag beaches include:

• Fun and interactive environmental education activities for school going children

• Monitoring of beach activities

• Conducting of visitor surveys as well as other data gathering

• Providing updates on weather and general beach conditions via Twitter

• Assisting lifeguards by helping to improve water safety at the beach

• Helping beach managers to maintain the high Blue Flag standards relating to safety, environmental management, water quality and environmental education at their beaches.

For a list of all the beaches where the Tourism Blue Flag Beach Stewards will be active along the coastline from November onwards, visit www.wessa.org.za/TBF.

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