Greece clinched second place in the world on the 2020 Blue Flag quality award list for beaches, marinas and sustainable tourism boats, which was recently released by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF).
The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label, awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.
The country ranked second – after Spain in first place – among 47 countries with 497 of its beaches receiving the Blue Flag label. This corresponds to 13 percent of the total number of beaches awarded by the program this year.
In addition, 14 Greek marinas and six sustainable tourism boats were awarded the Blue Flag label for 2020.
As last year, most of Greece’s Blue Flags – 94 – went to beaches in Halkidiki, northern Greece.
The release of the Blue Flag list coincides with the reopening of organized and unorganized beaches in Greece, with social distancing rules, as the country has entered the 3rd stage of easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
“The Blue Flag program has a special significance for Greek tourism,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said. “Apart from confirming the high quality services offered in Greece’s beaches, marinas and tourism boats, this year, Blue Flags symbolize our desire and willingness to return to normality,” he added.
Last year, 515 Greek beaches, 15 marinas and four sustainable tourism boats were honored.
On his part, Deputy Minister Manos Konsolas welcomed the positive news and referred to a draft bill that was recently tabled in Parliament aiming to pave the way for the development of special forms of marine tourism, including diving and marine parks. The bill – he said -will give added value to Greek tourism.
Furthermore, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) sees Greece’s ranking as an additional way to promote Greece.
“With the Blue Flag recognition, this year, Greek tourism can offer an excellent combination of nature and high-quality services to Greek citizens and international travelers: Natural beauty, variety of locations, health and environmental safety in Greek seas and beaches. This is the image that the GNTO wishes to promote,” President Angela Gerekou said.
In Greece, the program’s coordinator is the EEPF.
On a worldwide scale the FEE awarded the international eco-label to 3,895 beaches, 691 marinas and 82 sustainable tourism boats for 2020.