Greece is once again second in the world on the Blue Flag quality award list for beaches, marinas and sustainable tourism boats, according to the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF).
The country ranked second on the 2019 Blue Flag quality award list among 47 countries with 515 beaches, 15 Greek marinas and four sustainable tourism boats. Last year 519 Greek beaches, 15 marinas and one sustainable tourism boat were honored.
The iconic Blue Flag is a world-renowned voluntary eco-label, awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators, trusted by millions around the globe. The program is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. In Greece, the program’s coordinator is the EEPF.
Greece’s ranking was announced during a special event on Tuesday, held at Vouliagmeni Coast in Athens and attended by many tourism representatives of the state and private sector.
According to EEPF, 12 percent of the newly honored winning beaches, out of the 47 countries that participated in the program, are in Greece.
Moreover, most of Greece’s Blue Flag awards – 92 – went to beaches in Halkidiki, northern Greece.
On a worldwide scale the foundation awarded the international eco-label (blue flags) to 3,797 beaches, 695 marinas and 67 sustainable tourism boats for 2019.
In order to qualify for the prestigious Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained. “Excellent” water quality for beaches is a main requirement.
The Blue Flag award has a duration of one year. However, EEPF and FEE inspectors often make surprise visits to the country’s award-winning beaches between July and August and marinas all year round in order to check whether the criteria of the Blue Flag program are met.
According to the EEPF, leading international travel agencies and tour operators pay special attention to Blue Flag beaches when choosing the destinations they sell to travelers.