The City of Cape Town has kicked sand in the eyes of other coastal cities and again boasts the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the country. Ten of the City’s beaches were given the status at an announcement made in Jeffrey’s Bay yesterday. This forms part of the national Blue Flag programme, coordinated by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.
The Blue Flag status of the City of Cape Town’s beaches was announced by the new National Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa on 4 October 2017.
The following City beaches were awarded full Blue Flag status for the summer season period, i.e. 1 December 2017 to 31 January 2018:
- Bikini Beach
- Mnandi Beach
- Strandfontein Beach
- Muizenberg Beach
- Fish Hoek Beach
- Camps Bay Beach
- Clifton 4th Beach
- Silwerstroomstrand (mid-December to mid-January)
In addition, Seaforth Beach was awarded pilot Blue Flag status for the summer season. This means it will be considered for full Blue Flag status if certain criteria are met within a specified period of time.
‘The City of Cape Town is proud to consistently maintain its record of providing high quality beaches and associated amenities which ensure that local residents are afforded enjoyable recreational spaces. Achieving high standards such as those set by the Blue Flag programme also contribute to Cape Town being an international destination of choice for tourists,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
The City is preparing for the festive season and an influx of beach goers.
‘We are very proud that so many of our beaches are recognised as meeting the very high standards set out in the Blue Flag programme. Our beaches are popular, as the more than one million visitors over the festive season can attest to. City departments work hard to ensure that our beaches are clean, safe and full of fun activities for holiday-makers,’ said Alderman Smith.
Blue Flag is an international accreditation awarded to beaches that display excellence through meeting 33 criteria covering four categories: environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.
Participation in this international programme is voluntary and the status indicates that the beaches are clean, have adequate ablution facilities and parking, are environmentally sound, are safe and secure to visit, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards. The accreditation is awarded for one season at a time and if conditions deteriorate at the beach, it can be withdrawn.
The City has successfully participated in the Blue Flag beach programme since its inception in South Africa in 2001.
Not all beaches in Cape Town have Blue Flag status, but Alderman Smith emphasised that this was not a negative reflection on the beach.
‘The Blue Flag is a monitoring tool to assist the City in improving and enhancing services and facilities on all public beaches while maintaining the already high standards set at the beaches. It is part of the City’s commitment to provide world-class facilities for everyone and is a key aim of our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan,’ said Alderman Smith.
Three marinas also achieved Blue Flag status. They are the Water Club at Granger Bay, Harbour Island, and the False Bay Yacht Club. Blue Flag marinas help to ensure better business opportunities for tourism enterprises, while promoting economic development in the boat-building industry, thus creating job opportunities.
The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites this year, with 28 of the 44 beaches, all 11 boats (tourism boats that do environmental tours and educational programmes), and six of the seven Blue Flag marinas falling in the province. This is an increase of three Blue Flag boats from the previous season, and one additional marina.