Blue Flag locations evaluated on St. Maarten

POSTED: 09/10/13 2:23 PM

International jury to decide on status 

St. Maarten – Compliance of St. Maarten’s Blue Flag locations Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and The Yacht Club Isle de Sol with the 2013 Blue Flag criteria was scrutinized and evaluated by national Blue Flag jury members during the months of July and August.

The Blue Flag is an exclusive, voluntary eco-label annually awarded to beaches and/or marinas that meet a specific set of criteria concerning environmental information and education, water quality, safety, services, and environmental management. The eco-label has become an international symbol of quality recognized by tourists and tour operators around the world and can be used as a promotional tool for the awarded beach, marina, or destination.

The Blue Flag program is owned and operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an independent non-profit organization. Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) has been a member of the FEE since 2008 and is the national coordinator of the Blue Flag Program on St. Maarten. Divi Little Bay and Isle de Sol yacht club were first awarded the prestigious Blue Flag eco-label in October 2011, making St. Maarten the first and only country in the Dutch Caribbean to have Blue Flag locations.

The vice-president of FEE, Lourdes Diaz, visited St. Maarten recently to inspect the island’s Blue Flag locations as part of the annual evaluation process. During her visit, Diaz provided a presentation on the Blue Flag and Green Key eco-labels to representatives of the hospitality industry at the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association’s (SHTA) office.

The national Blue Flag jury and EPIC have forwarded their findings to the International Blue Flag Coordination which will in turn submit the document to the international Blue Flag jury for final decision making during the month of September. The international jury includes representatives of the FEE board of directors, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Lifesaving Federation (ILS), International Council of Marine Industry Association (ICOMIA), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and an environmental education expert.

EPIC partnered with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau in 2008 to work towards establishing the Blue Flag program on St. Maarten. Since then the program has enjoyed the support of successive governments, the SHTA, the St. Maarten Timeshare Association, and the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association.

 

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