With 430 beaches and nine marinas, Greece clinched third spot during the 1st International “Blue Flags” Awards ceremony held in Halkidiki on Wednesday, at the Porto Carras Grand Resort. The country also recently came fourth in Europe with the European Environment Agency verifying that 97.2 percent of its beaches are of the highest quality for swimming.
Spain is home to most Blue Flag beaches this year with 588 beaches and 100 marinas awarded followed by Turkey with 444 beaches and 21 marinas.
Run by independent non-profit organization Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), the Blue Flag Program labels beaches and marinas — and for the first time this year sustainable boating tourism operators — appropriate for swimming based on cleanness, water quality, organization, safety and services, environmental management and protection and certifies the best every year ahead of summer.
This year, 3,462 beaches and 660 marinas in 50 countries were inspected.
Halkidiki collects most “Blue Flags” in Greece
The Halkidiki peninsula, which hosted this year’s first international “Blue Flags” event, was crowned the destination with most flags in Greece as 52 of its beaches were honored.
Greek National Tourism Organization General Secretary Dimitris Tryfonopoulos said he expects this year’s incoming tourism figures to grow thanks to the country’s number of clean beaches and quality tourism product.
The event, held under the auspices of the Economy, Development and Tourism ministry and the Halkidiki Tourism Organization, came to a close with the hoisting of the Blue Flag at the Porto Carras Grand Resort beach.
The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature is the “Blue Flags” coordinator for Greece.