The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala, has welcomed the awarding of Blue Flag status to nine beaches in KwaZulu-Natal as a much-needed positive boon for the province’s tourism prospects.
A total of seven beaches in the Ray Nkonyeni District to the south of the province and two beaches in the eThekwini Municipality were given Blue Flag status.
In order for a beach to be awarded this prestigious it must a set of stringent criteria set by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa and Blue Flag such as water quality, environmental, management, safety and security, environmental education and information.
“For nine beaches in KZN to make the cut is ample proof that our strategy of enhancing the status of our province as a world class tourism destination that upholds the highest standards is paying the dividends,” said MEC Zikalala.
An additional seven beaches under the KwaDukuza and eThekwini Municipalities were awarded a pilot Blue Flag status.
Zikalala added that the province would continue to upgrade and maintain its beach recreational facilities and maintain the highest environmental standards in order to meet and even surpass the Blue Flag standards.
“Being awarded a Blue Flag status beach means that we are all playing our part towards protecting our environment from pollution and man-made degradation whilst simultaneously ensuring that we do not compromise on our reputation as the most preferred domestic tourism destination. Looking ahead, we now want to ensure that we expand our Blue Flag beaches by converting the status of those beaches that have been identified as pilot sites,” Zikalala said.
The beaches that received Blue Flag status are: (Ray Nkonyeni) Marina, Trafalgar, Lucien, Southport, Umzumbe, Hibberdene and Ramsgate. (Ethekwini) Ushaka and Westbrook.