Turkey has just knocked France off the top 3 blue flag beaches accreditation in the world to become the third country with the most blue flag beaches. Accordingly, Turkey has 383 blue flag beaches, 21 blue flag marinas and 13 yachts accredited with blue flags. This places Turkey in the third position globally after Spain and Greece.
There are now 383 beaches in Turkey certified as blue flag. The blue flag eco-label accreditation is an international accreditation that certifies beaches, marinas and boats with a highly prestigious blue flag award. For a beach to be accredited with this award, many aspects of the beach and water are analysed and rated, including aspects such as environmental education & information, water quality, environmental management, safety and services.
It is interesting to note that 20 years ago, when Turkey first applied for the blue flag eco-label accreditation, there were only 10 countries in the world that had accredited blue flag beaches and Turkey was in the 10th position with only 5 blue flag beaches. Now there are 46 countries from all over the world with blue flag accreditation and Turkey hold the third most accredited position for blue flag beaches. This is a significant improvement, from only 10 beaches in 1995 to 383 beaches in Turkey with blue flag awards in 2013. It shows Turkey's increasing awareness of environmental issues and improved management for cleaner beaches and sea water. This includes regulations introduced in the last 3-5 years with regards grey and brown water management for boats and yachts, marina life protection initiatives and real estate development restrictions moving construction away from coastal zones.
Where are the blue flag beaches in Turkey?
Turkey's blue flag beaches are spread all over the Mediterranean, Aegean, Marmara and even the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Most number of blue flag beaches in Turkey are along the country's Mediterranean coast in Antalya and partially in Mugla (Mugla straddles the Mediterranean and Aegean) and then followed by the Aegean as follows:
- Antalya area comes first among all counties in Turkey for the highest number of blue flag beaches with 179.
- Mugla takes the second position within Turkey with 84 blue flag beaches
- Izmir has 36 blue flag beaches
- Aydin has 25 beaches with blue flag accreditation
- Balikesir has 19
- Mersin 9
- Canakkale 6
- Istanbul 3
- Kocaeli 2
- Tekirdag 1
- Duzce 1
A closer look at well known blue flag beaches in Turkey
Of Turkey's blue flag beaches, the following are located in some of the country's tourism hotspots.
- In Antalya, we see the highest concentration of blue flag beaches in Kemer area including Goynuk, followed by Side, Belek, Konyaalti and Alanya.
- In Mugla, we note the highest number of blue flag beaches in Bodrum peninsula, including Bodrum town, Yalikavak, Bitez, Gumusluk, Ortakent, Turgutreis and Yaliciftlik, followed by Fethiye and Marmaris. There are several blue flag beaches in Oludeniz, Fethiye for example.
- In Aydin, there are several blue flag beaches in Kusadasi and several in Didim.
Why is blue flag beach accreditation important for Turkey?
The answer is simple - tourism. Statistics show that blue flag accreditations carry an important weight with it in terms of distribution of beach holidays globally. Therefore, blue flag beaches attract more elite tourism, including better marina facilities, higher hotel standards and increase in lifestyle tourism.
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