Blue Flag beaches more popular

2012-10-11 22:26

Johannesburg - Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk launched the annual Blue Flag Season initiative at Grotto Beach in the Western Cape on Thursday.

He said Blue Flag beaches were becoming the beach of choice for holiday makers.

"As the number of Blue Flag beaches increases in South Africa, domestic visitors are increasingly exercising their choices in which beaches they visit."

Ministerial spokesperson Melene Rossouw said Grotto Beach was one of those awarded Blue Flag status this year.
This was its 11th flag since the initiative was introduced in the country 12 years ago.

Quality monitored

The initiative, which began in Europe in 1987, encourages beaches and marina to comply with the European Union's Bathing Water Directive.

It monitors water quality, environmental education and information, management, safety and services.

Over 40 countries were currently participating in the programme, with a total of 3 489 beaches and marinas awarded the Blue Flag status in 2012.

Rossouw said South Africa had 36 beaches and marina being monitored for the initiative, and four of them were awarded full flag status this year.

The tourism ministry was pleased with the progress the country was making in attracting visitors to the beaches.
"Travel receipts increased in the second quarter of 2012, rising by R5bn to R83.5bn," Rossouw said.

"Tourist arrivals to our country increased by an overall 10.5% year-on-year during the first quarter and overseas arrivals increased by nearly 18%."

  • marnus.lamprecht - 2012-10-11 23:02

    I wonder whether it isn't that the beaches that are popular is made Blue Flag beaches rather than Blue Flag beaches being popular or the beaches of choice? For me personally Still Bay's Blue Flag beach status has made it hard to enjoy a day out. You are not allowed to take your dog for a run on the sand even if its is 6am, it will cost you chance of a picnic-basket because every 5min a steward comes and confronts one about what is in your glass due to the alcohol restrictions on these beaches. The obsessive manner in which swimming is restricted to a 70m stretch of beach by blowing on a whistle turns one mad. Mr v Schalkwyk has all these ideas but he tends to focus on foreign tourists and loves to neglect the people that visit these places for years and years. Pretty soon he will charge us a fee to use these beaches.

      ockert.j.dupreez - 2012-10-12 08:15

      I was at a blue flag beach recently on the south coast, and I have to disagree with your statements here. The whistle blowing guys are the guys in control of your life. There were people swimming where they weren't supposed to and the waves were big. Now what would have happened if not for these guys blowing the whistles? As to not being able to drink on a beach, so what. Go to a restaurant. They're trying to make the beaches safer. I wish they could do this everywhere

  • frank.crane.180 - 2012-10-12 07:18

    I am sure I read that Japan had voted Durban waters as one of the most toxic in the world . Does the "blue flag" apply to the water and the beach? Just checking.

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