Spain tops the international list
In 2021, Spain once again beat its record of the number of beaches awarded for their cleanliness, safety and water quality.
Since June 2021, a total of 712 blue flags have been awarded: 614 on beaches, 96 in ports and 2 on tourist boats.
Thus, this year, with 25 new beaches and 2 ports, Spain maintains its leadership with respect to the previous year. The list of countries whose beaches have received the most awards continues with Greece (567), Turkey (551), France (525) and Italy (497).
About the award
The Blue Flag is an international award given annually to beaches and marinas that meet high standards of quality and safety. The awards have been granted since 1987. As of 2021, 65 organisations based in 60 countries, representing Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, North and South America, have joined the programme.
The award of the Blue Flag requires compliance with strict standards of water quality, safety and environmental education. For locations in the European Union, full compliance with adopted directives is also required.
The annual celebration takes place on 5 June (for Europe, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia and similar geographic locations) and 1 November (for the Caribbean, New Zealand, South Africa and similar locations in the southern hemisphere).
The fact that Spain is at the top of this ranking demonstrates the “good state of environmental conservation of the areas and the high quality of the services provided”, explained José Palacios Aguilar, president of ADEAC-FEE.
He also pointed out that the obligation to have defibrillators on Spanish beaches with blue flags allowed 36 swimmers to be ” rescued” in 2020 in 94 cases in which they were used, and highlighted the role of the 2,700 lifeguards who rescued almost 6,000 people in the same period.
Thanks to the work of the lifeguards, only 5% of cases required hospital treatment, he said.
The Secretary of State of Tourism, Fernando Valdés, said that “Spain has been on the blue flag pedestal uninterruptedly for almost three decades” and continues to be “unrivalled” in terms of quality standards, despite COVID-19, and therefore said that next summer, when 30% of Spaniards have already been vaccinated and 6 million have done so in full, Spain will be able to “tell the world loud and clear” that its beaches are of the highest quality and the best prepared to receive tourists.
The Valencian Community tops the Spanish ranking
The Valencian Community continues to lead Spain in the number of Blue Flags with 153, 137 for beaches and 16 for ports. It is followed by Andalusia, with 137 Blue Flags, of which 115 are for beaches, 20 for ports and 2 for boats; and Galicia, with 122, of which 111 are for beaches and 11 for ports.
There are also 70 Blue Centres and 75 Blue Trails in Spain, which, according to Palacios Aguilar, promotes environmental education on the coast and provides knowledge about the environment and holiday alternatives.
As for the thematic awards, the municipalities of Chiclana de la Frontera (Cádiz) and Muro (Balearic Islands) won in the “Rescue and first aid” category, while in environmental education the prizes went to Arucas (Palmas de Gran Canaria), Conil de la Frontera (Cádiz) and Gandía (Valencia).
Finally, the winners for beaches with accessibility for people with disabilities were Arnuero (Cantabria), Arona (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) and Santa Eulalia del Río (Balearic Islands).