ANDALUCIA has been awarded 137 prestigious Blue Flags, breaking it’s previous record by gaining 18 more flags than last year.

In a massive and much needed boost to the tourism sector and the environment, the region is now the second in the whole of Spain with the most blue flags, only surpassed by Valencia and ahead of Catalonia and Galicia.

The iconic ‘Blue Flag’ is one of the world’s most recognised ecolabel for beaches, marinas and boats and sustainable boating tourism operators. An international honour handed out by an eminent international jury, which comprises members of the UN Environment Programme, UN World Tourism Organization, Foundation for Environmental Education and IUCN.

In order to qualify for the Blue Flag tag, a series of rigorous environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.

Andalucia’s commitment to comply with environmental legislation and improve beach quality is paying off going from 96 blue flags in 2019 to 137 this year.

“The work of the Regional Ministry of Tourism is unquestionable in recent years.” said Vice-President and Minister of Tourism, Juan Marin.

“Our commitment is to a safe, sustainable and accessible destination, and our beaches are going to be the mirror of our strategy. Andalucia is a destination that stands out for its quality, and our coastline is a clear example of this,” he added.

Of the 137 flags, 115 have been awarded to beaches, 20 to marinas and two to sustainable boats, with Malaga province awarded the most Blue Flags of the region, 41 in total, 34 for beaches, five for ports and two for sustainable boats, followed by Cadiz with 35 flags, including 30 for beaches and five for ports.

Almeria obtained the third highest number with 33 (31 beaches and two ports), followed by Huelva (nine beaches and seven ports) and Granada 12 (11 beaches and one port).

Spain itself has also gained a record number of Blue Flags this year, with a total of 713 of the coveted flags, the highest number of any country taking part in the scheme.

The Blue Flag programme is an international honour which was first started in France in 1985 and in areas out of Europe in 2001.

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