A new survey has revealed the importance of the Blue Flag award to visitors and businesses across the country.

According to a national survey carried out by Keep Wales Tidy, more than 96% of people are aware of the international Blue Flag programme, with 90% understanding the award stands for cleanliness, safety and water quality.

The report What Blue Flag means to Wales explores visitor perceptions and the effect on the tourism industry. It shows that businesses in Wales overwhelmingly consider Blue Flag to have a positive impact on their business, with 82% saying it helps bring more visitors to the area.

Last year saw a record-breaking 50 Blue Flags flying in Wales – more per mile than anywhere else in the UK – with 45 beaches, three marinas and two boat tour operators celebrating international success.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Blue Flag in Wales. For three decades, the Blue Flag programme, which is owned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), has had a transformational impact on water quality, environmental awareness, management and services. During this time, it has become a world-renowned eco-label with more than 4,400 award-winning sites in 46 countries.

Lord Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport said:

As we start our celebrations of Year of the Sea during 2018 – these survey results are excellent news. Year of the Sea gives us an opportunity to challenge perceptions of Wales by promoting our world-class products, events and experiences – and give people compelling reasons to visit Wales.  Our quality Blue Flag beaches will play a key part in selling Wales to the world this year. In acknowledging the importance of Wales Blue Flag beaches to Wales’ tourism industry and visitors, we’ve also been able to invest in the infrastructure at key Blue Flag sites through our Tourism Amenity Infrastructure Support fund.

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy said:

We’re delighted to be announcing these results to launch our 30th anniversary celebrations. The report demonstrates that the Blue Flag has raised environmental standards to the highest level.

This international recognition is valued by local businesses and communities alike, and means visitors to our award-winning beaches, marinas and boat tour operators can be sure they have arrived at a top-quality destination.

Events to mark the 30th anniversary in Wales will be taking place throughout 2018 as part of the Year of the Sea.

"What Blue Flag means to WalesReport

#YFanerLas30: Arolwg newydd yn datgelu gwerth y Faner Las i Gymru