If the country’s beach environment was part of this year’s Olympic Games, Greece would pick up the Silver medal this year. Beach properties in the country were awarded a record 378 Blue Flags, against 373 last year, and seven of its marinas now fly the coveted award (five last year). The only one of the participating countries that did better was “Gold medal” winner Spain with Blue Flags on 450 of its beaches and 68 marinas.
The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature has handled the international Blue Flags program in Greece since 1992. The Blue Flag, a symbol of quality in over 35 countries today, is awarded with strict criteria to organized beaches and marinas operated by coastal municipalities, hotels and other operators. The program aims at cleanliness of sea and beach, safety and proper services for bathers and visitors, creation of environmental sensitivity and active protection of the coastal region.
The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development at beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services. It includes environmental education and information for the public, decision makers and tourism operators.