85 beaches and 10 marinas around Ireland have been awarded prestigious Blue Flags by An Taisce – one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. Fáilte Ireland says the Awards strengthen Ireland’s tourism appeal as summer and bathing season approach.
Fáilte Ireland research shows that outdoor water-based activities such as kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and open water swimming are popular attractors for international and domestic visitors.
Welcoming the Awards announcement, Fiona Monaghan added, “Fáilte Ireland is really pleased to welcome this year’s Blue Flag awards, and we congratulate the Local Authorities for achieving the excellent standards required by the Blue Flag criteria. We would also like to commend the Clean Coasts volunteers right across the country who act as custodians for our beaches, seas, and marine life in Ireland, ensuring that they are managed appropriately and are litter and pollution free for our visitors to enjoy. It is testament to their hard work that 62 beaches have been awarded a Green Coast Award for 2022 and we are proud to continue to support An Taisce’s Clean Coast Programme and the Green Coast Awards.”
“The quality of our bathing waters is vital for tourism. Fáilte Ireland’s work developing and promoting water based recreational activities is a strategic priority and we very much welcome the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Bathing Water in Ireland report for 2021 released earlier this week. The report shows that 78% of bathing sites have excellent water quality, while 97% meet the minimum standard.”
“Covid19 has accelerated people’s increased interest and appreciation for the outdoors, and we are fortunate that Ireland has some of the most natural and unspoilt environments in the world. Our stunning coastline, rivers and lakes are the bedrock upon which Irish tourism has been built and are now being enjoyed more and more by local communities and visitors.”
Fáilte Ireland partners with An Taisce annually to sponsor the Green Coast Awards and support hundreds of volunteer-led beach clean-ups each year around Ireland. These clean ups remove large quantities of marine litter from the Irish coastline and the banks of rivers, canals and lakes. The sponsorship also funds a number of environmental awareness and education initiatives nationwide.
Fáilte Ireland also made significant investment in developing water-based activity tourism around Ireland, with €19million allocated in April 2021 for 20 world-class Facilities Centres for Water Based Activities, funded under the Platforms for Growth 2 Scheme. This scheme was designed to capitalise on this change in visitor behaviour and ensure high quality, sustainable facilities are available to visitors as they enjoy activities along Ireland’s coast.
Source: Fáilte Ireland