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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Blue Flag Season Kicks Off with Flag Raising Ceremonies in the Virgin Islands

Dec. 1 marked the beginning of Blue Flag season as 50 people gathered at sites all over the territory to raise flags over award-winning beaches for the 2013-2014 season that will run through June 30.
“The Blue Flags are a recognized symbol of excellence around the world in regards to the sustainable management of recreational coastal areas,” said Valerie Peters, marketing director at Coral World Ocean Park. “Through tourism, most of us rely on the natural beauty and resources of our islands to live, it only makes sense that we take care of them now and for generations to come.”
Jane Wherren, general manager of Crown Bay Marina, said that she was thrilled with the improvements that have taken place on the property due to their Blue Flag status such as new waste and recycle bins, energy efficient hand dryers in the bathrooms, strategically placed ashtrays throughout the property — greatly reducing cigarette butts being tossed in the water — more green area for entertaining, environmental information for patrons, and an overall increased sense of commitment to protecting the marine environment.
The Blue Flag program serves as an international annual award given to beaches and marinas that meet a standard of excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness, environmental information and environmental management. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the program is managed by the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association in partnership with the V.I. Conservation Society. The strict criteria of the program are set by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the international coordinators of Blue Flag, who are based in Europe. The program monitors environmental conditions to ensure a limited impact of human activity on the natural surroundings, and encourages a commitment to partnerships and collaborative action for the sustainable development of tourism on beaches and marinas.
Blue Flag has proven to be a great resource here in the territory. It gives the territory international exposure and recognition, and brings together the tourism and environmental sectors at local, national, and regional levels. It is an outstanding sustainable tourism management tool. In addition, it encourages conservation of natural resources and tourism product, the health and safety of our environment, and promotes environmental education to island visitors and the local community as well as offers sound environmental values and sustainable lifestyles.
“Our thriving tourism industry intimately depends on the health of the marine environment, clarity of the ocean waters, and gorgeous beaches. Divers, snorkelers, boaters, beach goers, sailors and fishers repeatedly choose the Virgin Islands as their vacation destination, securing our multimillion dollar industry,” said Peters.
For beach and marinas, Blue Flag means increased water quality monitoring, more safety equipment, environmental education activities, the ambassador program at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, poster displays at Crown Bay Marina, ranger talks at Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay, and much more. Blue Flag is truly an asset to the community. In addition to the Blue Flag award for beaches and marinas, FEE has instituted a Blue Flag award for individual boat owners. The Lady Lindsey, operated by the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas and Hitauk, owned by Captain Clide Tap, are the first official Blue Flag Ambassador boats in the territory. The Individual Blue Flag is awarded to the interested boat owner signing the Environmental Code of Conduct declaring that he or she will act according to the issues outlined in the code. It is also an annual membership.
For more information about Blue Flag and how to become involved, e-mail blueflagusvi@gmail.com or visit www.blueflagusvi.org.

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Dec. 1 marked the beginning of Blue Flag season as 50 people gathered at sites all over the territory to raise flags over award-winning beaches for the 2013-2014 season that will run through June 30.
“The Blue Flags are a recognized symbol of excellence around the world in regards to the sustainable management of recreational coastal areas,” said Valerie Peters, marketing director at Coral World Ocean Park. “Through tourism, most of us rely on the natural beauty and resources of our islands to live, it only makes sense that we take care of them now and for generations to come.”
Jane Wherren, general manager of Crown Bay Marina, said that she was thrilled with the improvements that have taken place on the property due to their Blue Flag status such as new waste and recycle bins, energy efficient hand dryers in the bathrooms, strategically placed ashtrays throughout the property -- greatly reducing cigarette butts being tossed in the water -- more green area for entertaining, environmental information for patrons, and an overall increased sense of commitment to protecting the marine environment.
The Blue Flag program serves as an international annual award given to beaches and marinas that meet a standard of excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness, environmental information and environmental management. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the program is managed by the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association in partnership with the V.I. Conservation Society. The strict criteria of the program are set by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the international coordinators of Blue Flag, who are based in Europe. The program monitors environmental conditions to ensure a limited impact of human activity on the natural surroundings, and encourages a commitment to partnerships and collaborative action for the sustainable development of tourism on beaches and marinas.
Blue Flag has proven to be a great resource here in the territory. It gives the territory international exposure and recognition, and brings together the tourism and environmental sectors at local, national, and regional levels. It is an outstanding sustainable tourism management tool. In addition, it encourages conservation of natural resources and tourism product, the health and safety of our environment, and promotes environmental education to island visitors and the local community as well as offers sound environmental values and sustainable lifestyles.
“Our thriving tourism industry intimately depends on the health of the marine environment, clarity of the ocean waters, and gorgeous beaches. Divers, snorkelers, boaters, beach goers, sailors and fishers repeatedly choose the Virgin Islands as their vacation destination, securing our multimillion dollar industry,” said Peters.
For beach and marinas, Blue Flag means increased water quality monitoring, more safety equipment, environmental education activities, the ambassador program at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, poster displays at Crown Bay Marina, ranger talks at Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay, and much more. Blue Flag is truly an asset to the community. In addition to the Blue Flag award for beaches and marinas, FEE has instituted a Blue Flag award for individual boat owners. The Lady Lindsey, operated by the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas and Hitauk, owned by Captain Clide Tap, are the first official Blue Flag Ambassador boats in the territory. The Individual Blue Flag is awarded to the interested boat owner signing the Environmental Code of Conduct declaring that he or she will act according to the issues outlined in the code. It is also an annual membership.
For more information about Blue Flag and how to become involved, e-mail blueflagusvi@gmail.com or visit www.blueflagusvi.org.