The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced the highest quality beaches for 2019, with Greece coming in second in the world, behind Spain who was named first.
Greece boasts 515 ‘Blue Flag’ beaches and also received accolades for 15 Greek marinas and four sustainable tourism boats.
The prestigious Blue Flag is recognised worldwide as a sign of excellence of life-saving facilities, first-rate water quality, accessibility and information regarding the surrounding nature of award-winning beaches.
The world-renowned voluntary eco-label, awards beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators and is 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.
Most of Greece’s Blue Flag awards, with a total of 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.
Spain received 669 Blue Flag awards including 566 Spanish beaches, 98 marina resorts and 5 sustainable tourist boat operators.