Algarve toasts record number of Blue Flags

Algarve toasts record number of Blue Flags

The Algarve, or at least its tourist board, is this week celebrating news that the region will fly a record number of Blue Flag awards on its beaches

“This year 85 beaches in the Algarve will hoist the Blue Flag symbol of quality, three more than last year, along with four marinas – Albufeira, Lagos, Portimão and Vilamoura.

The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which indicates that a beach or marina meets stringent standards.

According to the association which attributes the awards, the European Blue Flag Association (ABAE), one new beach and three previous fliers of the flag are on this year’s list.

Newcomer Beliche beach in Sagres, is on the list for the first time, while Ferragudo beach (Lagoa), Alemães beach (Albufeira) and Tonel beach (Vila do Bispo), have made combacks having previously lost the award.

In comments to the media, Desidério Silva, president of the Algarve Regional Tourist Board (RTA) said: “This is another remarkable record in blue flags, to anticipate the high season of Algarve tourism, and would not have been possible without the usual involvement of municipalities in the region, which are to be congratulated.”

Silva recalled that the Algarve has been nominated for Best European Beach Destination at the upcoming World Travel Awards.

The Blue Flag Programme is based on three components: beaches, marinas and pleasure craft, and uses the European Blue Flag as a tool which is awarded annually by meeting a set of criteria, including safety, comfort of users, and information and environmental awareness.

Overall a total of 299 Portuguese beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag, up one on last year, while the 15 marinas awarded the quality symbol was down two on 2014, José Archer, the President of the Blue Flag, told a recent press conference.

Archer framed this against the change in testing rules taking place in the meanwhile with the frequency dropping from fortnightly to monthly, and taking into consideration the last 20 samples instead of the last year.

Emphasising how this meant one bad result would have a greater impact on the attribution of flags, in a European directive that the association imposed, this year’s results have been positive with the Tagus region gaining an additional five blue-flagged beaches.

However, six beaches on the continent and six on Madeira have lost their flags due to the changeover in rules.

Archer, however, pointed to the fact that the Lisbon recreational ports of Santo Amaro and Oeiras and the Parque das Nações marina have still retained their flags.

The Azores also saw an additional five blue flags being awarded for 2015 against the loss of one, whilst in the North of Portugal, Caminha saw all of its beaches pick up the blue flag for the first time in 26 years.”

 

Source/ Autor: “The Portugal News” direct link here  – http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/algarve-toasts-record-number-of-blue-flags/34699

 

 

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