Blue flag beaches in the Eastern Cape: implications for tourism, the environment and socio-economy

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University of Fort Hare


The Blue Flag programme in South Africa is managed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The main objective of the Blue Flag is to improve the understanding of the coastal environment and to promote the incorporation of environmental issues in the decision making process. Blue Flag programmes promote sustainable development in fresh water and marine areas and this programme challenges the beach operators and Municipalities to achieve high standard of water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and services. The study seeks to investigate the effects of the Blue Flag award on the environment and tourism at selected Eastern Cape beaches. The research was conducted on the following beaches Gonubie in East London, Middle beach in Kenton on Sea, Wells in Port Elizabeth and Cape St Francis in Kouga municipality. This study employed qualitative research methods with interviews that were conducted and secondary information from WESSA that were analysed. This study suggests that Blue Flag programme should receive support from the Municipal councillors so that they provide all the necessary support to the programme. One of the key findings are that Municipalities that source funding elsewhere for the Blue Flag award (under one of the National Departments Coast Care projects) are more successful in retaining the award. The study recommends that the public should be educated on how to keep the beaches clean and safe. Business owners have confirmed that they receive benefits in having the Blue Flag in their areas and it has been evident that the Blue Flag has contributed to the socio-economy of the area, and there is an increase in tourists. Business owners iv need to be encouraged to assist in making sure that the beaches receive and retain the award. There is a need to educate the public about the Blue Flag and the public have to be encouraged to keep the beaches clean and to take ownership of their beaches.



Human ecology -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Environmental protection -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Environmental policy -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Sustainable development -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Water quality -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Environmental management -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Tourism -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Beaches -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Municipal government -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Economic development -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape