A total of 77 beaches out of a total of 123 in Cyprus, as well as two marinas, received a Blue Flag award on Tuesday, a certification that shows they meet the highest quality standards.
“Swimming is an extremely popular activity all over Europe. The annual bathing water assessment shows the degree of protection for public health and the environment, allowing people to make informed decisions about the options they have to enjoy the best bathing areas,” Agriculture, Minister Petros Xenophontos said.
Granted by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) for beaches, marinas or sustainable boating tourism operators, Blue Flag criteria include standards for quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria.
Speaking at the award ceremony in Limassol, Xenophontos said the Blue Flag is the most recognisable symbol of quality in the world.
“An important achievement for Cyprus is the fact that 77 beaches out of 123 bathing areas and two marinas meet the criteria, resulting in them being awarded the Blue Flag this year, another important award for our country.”
The agriculture ministry coordinates and has overall responsibility for the implementation of the Bathing Water Quality Management Law, and is also responsible for monitoring the quality of the country’s bathing waters.
At the end of each year, Cyprus submits an annual report to the European Commission, in accordance with its obligations regarding the management of bathing water quality.
“I am pleased to inform you that Cyprus recorded a compliance rate of 99.2 per cent, with 119 out of 120 bathing water areas deemed of excellent quality,” Xenophontos said.
“The collective effort is decisive for the protection of our most precious resource, the sea, as its environmental value adds to the quality of life of our fellow citizens while, at the same time, it contributes substantially to the economic progress and development of our country.”
“It is no coincidence that every year the number of beaches in Cyprus that meet the Blue Flag criteria increases,” deputy ministry of tourism director of quality assurance Annita Demetriadou said.
“The number increased over time through the hard work of all contributors to the programme and thanks to the local government authorities, without whom it would not have been possible to achieve such results,” she said.
Demetriadou also added that around €200,000 are set to be spent for the upgrading of beaches in 2023.