Minister of Tourism Ilin Dimitrov held a meeting to promote the Blue Flag initiative

05 September 2022

Tourism Minister Ilin Dimitrov held a working meeting with the Chairperson of the Board of the Bulgarian Blue Flag Movement Stanimir Georgiev to promote the initiative and increase the number of beaches with guaranteed cleanliness and impeccable conditions for tourism. 18 Bulgarian beaches and one marina bear the prestigious label.

“This is a long-term action that we can initiate right now and start with small steps, despite the limited horizon of the caretaker cabinet. Our goal is to double the number of Bulgarian beaches with the blue flag, as this will raise the prestige of the Bulgarian tourism product and ensure the safety and health of beachgoers,” Minister Dimitrov underscored.

The representative of the international organisation for Bulgaria, Stanimir Georgiev, defined the doubling of this number as a fully achievable goal.

The cleanness, safety and mainly the quality of the water is the most important condition for the application and is proven by tests of accredited private laboratories or Regional Health Inspectorates on the Black Sea coast.

The Blue Flag Award is the most established eco-label and standard in tourism with a 35-year history, honouring the world’s top 5042 beaches, marinas and tourist vessels, including those of the prominent Bulgarian resorts. Thanks to the Bulgarian Blue Flag Movement, blue flags have been flying on Bulgarian beaches since 1995, the first of which was given to Sunny Beach after a serious two-year study. The label is considered proof of the commitment of concessionaires and beach managers to offer an excellent tourist service through quality, successful and reliable management in balance with a wise and environmentally friendly use of natural resources.

Stanimir Georgiev said that in recent years, due to increased competition, more blue flags are flying on beaches along the southern Black Sea coast. Minister Dimitrov stressed the need for more beaches on the northern coast to receive this guarantee of cleanliness and quality.

As a full member and representative for Bulgaria of the international Foundation for Environmental Education /FEE/ - the world’s largest environmental organisation with members from over 75 countries, the Bulgarian movement “Blue Flag” also promotes the less known program “Green Key”.

“Green Key” is an eco-label for hotels, tourist and leisure facilities such as campsites, restaurants, attractions and other environmentally managed venues that use only sustainable methods and technologies to operate. The aim is to make the hotel service offering an environmentally friendly and responsible business that strives to reduce the use of resources, water and energy, as well as the use of local products, resulting in a significant cost savings.

“The effect for the hotels is impressive, because in the end, they find that all their costs have gone down. Miracles are achieved at the cost of introducing a few small changes and measures,” Stanimir Georgiev pointed out.

He said that currently one hotel in Bulgaria is in the process of Green Key certification, but 11 are participating in a pilot project, and another 46 accommodations are likely to appear on the map very soon, as the largest English tour operator requires the hotels it works with (4,600 worldwide, including 46 in Bulgaria) to pass a Green Key audit.

There is a direct link between the level of tourism development and interest in an area or a country and the number of Blue Flags awarded. This is exemplified by the champions in the ranking – Spain /729/, Greece /602/, Turkey /572/, France /536/, Italy /509/, Portugal /431/, which have the most flags and enjoy an enviable attendance.

In 2022, among the best beaches and marinas in the world, the Bulgarian beaches of White Lagoon, Albena, Kranevo - North, Golden Sands, Sunny Day, Obzor - Central, Sveti Vlas - New beach are also worthy of the award, Sunny Beach - North, Sunny Beach - Central, Sunny Beach - South, Nessebar - South, Pomorie - East, Chernomorets Camp, Sozopol - Central, Sozopol - Harmanite, Dunes, Dunes - South and Arkutino and the only awarded marina in Bulgaria – Marina Dinevi.

As every year, the nominations for the grand prize “Blue Flag” for clean and safe beaches, marinas and tourist vessels were reviewed first by the national jury of the Bulgarian movement in February, and then by the International Jury in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the organisation’s headquarters is.

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