More than 3,100 beaches and 625 marinas were awarded the world’s leading eco-label for the 2013 season by the Blue Flag International Jury on 19 April in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“It is wonderful to see the increasing number of sites but perhaps more importantly the improvement in quality, both of beaches and marinas,” said Malcolm Powell, Chair of the Jury and member of the FEE Board of Directors.
Helen Springall, an expert in environmental education and jury member, added: “I was particularly impressed by range and quality of environmental education activities that have been presented to us,” she said.
The International Jury also congratulated two new countries that fully implemented the Blue Flag programme in 2013 and welcomed Israel (with 11 sites) and Mexico (with 5 sites) to the network.
Orly Babitzky, Israeli National Operator said: “We are very happy and proud of the acceptance of Israeli beaches and marinas in to the Blue Flag family. We hope that the implementation of the Blue Flag programme in Israel will bring rapid and positive change to the environment and to the experiences of beach users.”
The full list of awarded sites will be published on 29 May on the international Blue Flag website where the users can also find detailed information about the services or facilities for disabled people.
“It is important for the public to know which services they can expect on our sites, “explained Sophie Bachet, Blue Flag International Director. “Having wheelchair access to the beach or to the water makes a huge difference, or having access for the visually impaired can make a huge difference to people’s holidays!” she added.
The next meeting of the Blue Flag International Jury takes place on 10 September to award beaches and marinas from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and southwest Pacific.
The International Blue Flag Jury is composed of representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Lifesaving Federation (ILS), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an Environmental Education expert, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) and FEE.
The Blue Flag also greatly appreciates the support of its sponsors: Shipmate and BeachTech.