First Blue Flag beaches inside a National Park!
16 October 2012
Following extensive research and negotiations with the affected Municipalities (George and Bitto), the Eden District Municipality, Rate Payers and the Wilderness and Tsistikamma Sections of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), the Wilderness and Nature’s Valley beaches became the first beaches within a National Park to receive Blue Flag Status. The Minister of Tourism, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk handed this award to Maretha Alant who represented the GRNP at the prestigious event in Hermanus. This award is a reflection of the GRNP’s co-operative Governance approach. The provisions for such an award is very strict and it takes commitment from all stakeholders to maintain the status.
Blue Flag is an international coastal management programme that accredits beaches when they meet excellent water quality, environmental management and education, as well as good safety measures in place. This programme offers huge benefits including improved tourism facilities, enhanced management of coastal ecosystems, increase awareness of the coast and capacity building for coastal municipalities. South Africa has participated in this Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) coordinated programme since 2001.
The GRNP General Manager, Jill Bunding-Venter wishes to express her gratitude to Vernon Gibbs Hall of the Eden District Municipality and Garden Route Initiative (GRI) programme , Maretha Alant and the two Working for the Coast Project Managers for their extensive efforts to make this dream a reality.
Minister Van Schalkwyk, Vernon Gibbs-Hall, Maretha Alant, Alderman Scholtz and Massimo Marioti
083 455 4050