The National Society for the Protection of Nature, National Operator of the “Blue Flag” International Program in our country, announced the coast and marina awards. With 486 award-winning coastlines, Greece is ranked 2nd in the world among 47 countries.
It is worth noting that this year, in all 47 countries participating in the Program, Greece held 25% of the new award-winning coasts. First in Greece this year, with 71 flags, was the prefecture of Chalkidiki. The International Commission has awarded 3,574 coasts, 662 marinas, and 50 sustainable tourism vessels this year around the world.
This year, declared by the International Tourism Organization as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development, Blue Flag, the most recognizable Eco label for coasts, marinas, and sustainable tourism vessels, completes 30 years of application in the world and in Greece.
The "Blue Flag" is the most recognizable and widespread internationally recognized ecological quality symbol in the world. It has been awarded since 1987 to beaches and marinas that meet the strict award conditions. A prerequisite for awarding a Blue Flag coast is that the water quality in it is "Excellent". No other quality grading, even "Good", is acceptable to the Program. The award has a duration of one year. In addition, all the 33 criteria (25 for marinas), which relate to cleanliness, organization, information, bather and visitor protection, protection of coastal natural resources, and environmental awareness, must be respected.
Specifically for the Prefecture of Rethymno, the winning beaches are the following:
Municipality of Rethymno:
- Rethymnon1 / Aquila Porto Rethymno
Rethymnon 1 / Kriti Beach
Rethymnon 1 / Ilios Beach
Rethymnon 2 / Pearl Beach
Rethymnon 3 / Steris Beach
Rethymnon 4-Misiria / Creta Palace
Platanias B / Minos Mare Resort
Adelianos Kampos A / Aquila Rithymna Beach
Pigianos Kampos / Grecotel White Palace
Skaleta / Creta Star
Municipality of Mylopotamos:
Panormo Lake / Grecotel Club Marine Palace
Lianos Kavos Lavris / Iberostar Creta Panorama
Bali Livadi / Bali Paradise Beach
Municipality of Agios Vasilios:
Ag. Galini / Ystero Varkotopi
The National Society for the Protection of Nature has been operating the international “Blue Flag” program in Greece since 1992. The Blue Flag, a symbol of quality in more than 50 countries today, which are constantly increasing, is awarded strict criteria to organized coasts and marinas run by coastal municipalities, hoteliers, and other actors. The "Blue Flag" Volunteer Program was launched in the 1980s. Today, 51 countries from almost all continents, not just Europe, participate in this voluntary program. The International Program Operator, the Fee (Environmental Education Foundation), in cooperation with the Coordinators of its member countries, are occasionally reforming the award criteria, making it increasingly stringent to apply, with the aim of improving coastal conditions and award-winning marinas.
The National Society for the Protection of Nature signed a cooperation protocol with the Ministry of Tourism in October 2013, formally stamping the common objectives in the effort to improve the quality of the tourist product. The implementation of the criteria of the two international Sustainable Management and Sensitization Programs, which are directly related to tourism (Blue Flag and Green Key for tourist accommodation), ensures the provision of high-quality services with sustainable practices and absolute respect for the environment. The Ministry of Tourism is represented in the National Crisis Committee of the Program and it participates actively in the evaluation of applications for the Blue Flag Program.
The Central Union of Municipalities of Greece supports the Program and urges local authorities to respect its criteria. It is also represented in the National Crisis Committee. The quality of bathing water is monitored each year by the Special Secretariat of Waters through sampling checks carried out in accredited laboratories by the National Accreditation System. The relevant information is accessible on the following websites www.iason.minenv.gr and www.e-per.gr