This past week, the first Ecological Blue Flag (BAE) was raised by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and awarded to 135 committees of the beaches category, corresponding to the 2019 period.
According to the institution, in 24 years of creation of the recognition, such a high amount had not been awarded. In addition, five of them achieved the highest score, that is, five stars: Playa Matapalo and Punta del Madero in North Guanacaste; Playa Blanca (Punta Leona) and Playitas in the Middle Pacific, and Playa Blanca in the South Caribbean.
Punta de Madero also received the golden star, for the commitment of the BAE Committee and the community to avoid sources of contamination from streams and river mouths to the sea. Playa Blanca and Playitas were awarded the pink star for their educational and preventive actions in relation to wild species near their beach.
“The ICT Ecological Blue Flag program not only consolidates Costa Rica as a destination that has sustainability as a transversal axis, and offer tourists added value, that the beach you visit is a safe place, and in which now we must all learn to combine that enjoyment with health protocols”, explained Gustavo Alvarado, director of Tourism Management at ICT.
Recognition takes into account hygienic sanitary conditions, preventive labeling and options for recycling
The evaluation carried out by the ICT to grant the BAE, takes into account aspects such as the hygienic sanitary conditions guaranteed by analysis of sea water and potability. Likewise, it considers safety elements such as preventive labeling of rip currents, lifeguards during weekends and in high tourist season. The presence of showers, sanitary services, separation and recycling of solid waste, environmental education, among others, also adds points to the score.
“It is a pride to participate for so many consecutive years and to be a benchmark at the level of the area, as a tourist company that makes a logistical and economic effort to keep Playa Blanca beautiful and safe, for the general population,” said César Vargas, relations manager of the Punta Leona hotel, which has been part of the BAE Committee since its inception.
As part of the ICT’s work, they carry out three visits to evaluate the progress of the annual plan proposed by each Committee, advise the group on technical work, and administer and provide recommendations for improvement.