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Spain has the Highest Number of Blue-Flag Beaches in the World: 586
ONCE again, Spain has become world leader in the number of blue-flag beaches now that the awards have been officially handed out – the prestigious emblem will fly from 586 beaches and 100 yacht marinas in the country this year.
Turkey, Greece, France and Portugal follow Spain, in that order.
This year, nine extra beaches were awarded the kitemark which denotes superior quality, cleanliness, safety, accessibility for the disabled, and facilities, and which explains why millions of visitors from colder countries return to Spain again for their summer breaks.
The Comunidad Valenciana came out top for blue-flag beaches, with 125 gaining the coveted award, followed by Galicia with 123, Catalunya with 98 and Andalucía with 76. Murcia got 40 and the Balearics and Canaries 45 each.
Catalunya saw the greatest improvement on last year, with nine new flags, followed by Valencia with five, and Murcia, Asturias, the Basque Country, the Canary Islands and the Spanish-owned city-province of Melilla on the northern Moroccan coast gaining one new flag apiece.
The Balearic Islands is the region which lost the most kitemarks this year – the towns of Son Sant Josep de Sa Talaia and Sant Joan de la Labritja lost all their blue flags, a total of 11 between them – whilst Galicia lost eight and Andalucía, two.
Barcelona has doubled its flag number – whilst the Llevant beach has lost its kitemark, but Nova Icària, Barceloneta, Somorrostro and San Sebastià i Sant Miquel have gained new ones whilst Nova Mar Bella and Bogatell have kept theirs from the previous year.
Ever-more demanding conditions and constantly rising standards mean blue flags are becoming increasingly harder to obtain and retain, hence the losses in the Balearics, Galicia, Andalucía, Valencia and the Llevant in Barcelona.
On the plus side, the World Tourism Organisation’s moving goalposts show that any beach holding a blue flag has a town council behind it which has worked extremely hard in order to put it there.
Source: Think Spain
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