Managing beaches and beachgoers: lessons from and for the Blue Flag award
Van der Merwe, Peet
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The Blue Flag is a beach award scheme adopted by coastal municipalities to manage beaches and attract tourism. This paper evaluates beachgoers' views of the Blue Flag award in South Africa, and examines these in the light of beach managers' opinions of the award. Beachgoers (N ¼ 374) on Blue Flag and non- Blue Flag beaches were interviewed to assess awareness, knowledge, and attitudes concerning the Blue Flag award, and perceptions of beach features that are also listed as Blue Flag criteria. Blue Flag managers were interviewed to examine their opinion of and commitment to the award. Beachgoers and managers shared positive views of the Blue Flag award. However, a substantial lack of knowledge on the award's criteria by beachgoers was reflected in managerial and educational flaws by Blue Flag managers. Based on the results obtained, a new environmental education framework is proposed for the Blue Flag award.