Plettenberg Bay has been awarded 8 international Blue Flag Awards for 2023/2024 and, a first for Plett, a Green Coast Award for Nature’s Valley at the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards.
The coveted Blue Flag status is one of the world’s most recognisable voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. Plett received full Blue Flag status for six of its beaches – Robberg 5, The Waves, Nature’s Valley, Lookout, The Dunes and Singing Kettle – and seal-swimming operator Offshore Adventures for its two boats.
To qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained at 4500 sites across 45 countries. In South Africa, Plett shares this accolade with 40 other sites across 5 destinations demonstrating a continued commitment to sustainable tourism.
“As a world-class beach destination, we share this excitement with key role-players who are committed to maintaining our coastline and waterways. This includes the Bitou Municipal beach management team, our marine activities and conservation initiatives. We are looking forward to sharing both the Blue Flag and Green Coast awards with the world,” says Patty Butterworth, CEO Plett Tourism.
In another first for Plett, Nature’s Valley achieved its first Green Coast Award from WESSA. Based on the success of the Blue Flag eco-label and the recognition that Blue Flag is only applicable to a limited stretch of urban coastline, WESSA developed a second coastal award for implementation along South Africa’s coastline.
The Green Coast Award, officially launched in 2017, is an annual award programme that recognises inclusive and sustainable management at less developed coastal sites with high biodiversity value making Nature’s Valley an ideal location for this significant recognition.
WESSA CEO, Helena Atkinson acknowledged and commended the exceptional efforts made by local authorities, communities and volunteers in achieving excellent world class standards this season. WESSA has consistently been at the forefront of the environmental sector, driving positive change and inspiring communities. Through its diverse range of programmes and initiatives, WESSA has been instrumental in fostering a culture of environmental responsibility across South Africa.
“It takes great dedication and effort to manage a beach or marina to meet the rigorous standards set out for this prestigious award, and we extend our warmest congratulations to all the deserving sites that have achieved the eco-labels,” she said adding that achieving Blue Flag or Green Coast eco-label was not just a status symbol but an indication of collective effort, commitment and compliance.
“By providing ongoing education programmes and training, we are able to provide citizens with key information about beach quality management at Blue Flag or Green Coast sites. It is also a way to recognise the hard work done by municipalities in providing safe natural spaces and preserving our natural resources for future generations,” she said.
Plett Tourism CEO, Patty Butterworth concludes: “It’s important that among the criteria to receive the Blue Flag award and Green Coast award are environmentally responsible tourism. As stewards of the natural beauty that draws millions of visitors every year, we need the public to know and embrace that responsibility. We can only protect our environment if we’re all involved in the mission and the effort,” says Butterworth.