Blue Flag

Salome Hallfreðsdóttir

The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 4.423 beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators in 45 countries across the Northern and Southern hemisphere. The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development of beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators through strict criteria dealing with Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management, and Safety and Other Services.

The Blue Flag program was created in 1987 and is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The Blue Flag program was launched in Iceland in 2002. The first Blue Flags were awarded in 2003 when Borgarfjörður eystri marina, Stykkishólmur marina and the Blue Lagoon were the first places to receive the award. These places have received the flag every year since, but now in 2018 there are 14 members in the Icelandic Blue Flag community. In 2016 the first SBTO´s (Sustainable Boating Tourism Operators) were awarded the Blue Flag, but Iceland was a pioneer in implementing the Blue Flag for these operators and today, five whale watching companies proudly fly the Blue Flag
Tourism is rapidly gaining ground in Iceland and the Icelandic nation relies heavily on its marine resources. Therefore, treatment of the sea has to be exemplary. Good environmental management ensures the future health of the environment and provides security for future generations.
Landvernd has gained a lot of experience with its Blue Flag program in the almost two decades since the program was first launched. It is a powerful tool for success in the fight for a healthy environment and the improvement of living conditions for the future. The Blue Flag is an indicator of good environmental performances, it serves as a tourist attraction and improves the appearance and appeal of municipalities and provinces.
The Blue Flag program is funded by the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources.

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