Spain Beats Its Own Record for Blue Flag Beaches
We all know that Spain has some fantastic beaches along its coastline.
And many of them are some of the cleanest and most well-serviced in the whole of Europe.
This has been confirmed recently as it has just been announced that Spain has achieved a total of 686 Blue Flags (586 beaches and 100 ports) which we will see blowing in the gentle breeze from June 2016.
This figure of 686 is nine more beaches yet one port less than last year, showing an increase of 1.2% from 2015. It is also 38 more flags than in 2013 and 5 more compared to 2014; meaning that one in every five beaches of the coast will display a Blue Flag this year.
With this excellent result, Spain leads the world ranking, and in fact one of every six 'blue flags' displayed on beaches across the world will do so on a Spanish beach. This is the same result as last year.
Most blue flags awarded to beaches in Cataluña
The autonomous region that gained the most number of Blue Flags since last year is Cataluña, which managed to achieve nine more flags than in 2015.
Following Cataluña is the Valencia Region with five more; Murcia, Asturias, País Vasco and Canarias, with 4 more flags; and Melilla with one more, all in comparison to last year’s results.
On the other hand, the Balearic Islands is the region which has lost the most number of Blue Flags lost in comparison to 2015, decreasing by 12 flags. The Islands are followed by Galicia, which has 8 flags less this year, and finally Andalucía with 2 flags less.
Quality of water and accessibility
Blue Flags not only represent beaches that are popular and acclaimed by the public and tourists but also those that fulfil certain characteristics and safety issues. For example, beaches with the Blue flag assure good quality waters and adequate environmental management. They also provide accessibility to people with reduced mobility and they are feature numerous health and rescue services.
Only introduced this year, the Association of Environmental Education and the Association of Consumer Issues, which is connected to the European Federation for Environmental Education (FEE), has awarded Blue Flags to a total of 21 tourist boats that carry out various activities.
Five of them have fallen in Spain, with three being in Mallorca and two in Malaga.
This new award, which has been granted only to boats from Spain and Iceland that perform different kinds of activities, including the observation of cetaceans (order of aquatic placental mammals having no hind limbs and a blowhole for breathing), diving, fishing or bird watching in a manner which is sustainable and respectful to the environment.