In recent days, one of the hot news that appeared in the Greek media was news about the fact that 38 Greek beaches have lost their Blue Flag designation. This group also included the Chiona beach located on the east end of Crete. In most cases this distinction was received due to drastic deficiencies found during the inspection of these beaches.
In the case of the Chiona beach located in the Lassithi region, the situation is quite different. Mr. Garefalakis, director of a regional beach company (DAEAN) dealing with beach management, reported that this year the place has never officially operated on the Blue Flag symbolism. The reason for this is that in the autumn of last year, the area of the Crete coast was recognized by the archaeological services as an excavation site. This was tantamount to the fact that the place was subject to special protection and strict control in terms of all works and activities conducted there. Chiona Beach is located next to the Russolakos / Paleokastro excavations, which are considered to be the remains of one of the Minoan palaces and cities.
However, at the end of last year, the municipal DAEAN authorities still hoped that the archaeological services would ease their position. Therefore, in consultation with the Greek Society for Nature Conservation, a decision was made to submit all documentation related to the scope of adaptation work to be carried out to meet the requirements of the Blue Flag program. It was planned to mount showerheads with fresh water, changing rooms, setting sun loungers, and the purchase of rescue equipment.
The decision of archaeological services has not changed, so any adjustment work would be a clear violation of the regulations. Representatives of regional authorities did not hide their bitterness caused by this decision, because Chiona beach is a place not only valued by foreign tourists, but also a place chosen willingly by the residents of nearby towns. The management of the archaeological services in the commentary to this situation stressed that in the coming years they do not expect that part of the area was excluded from protection or obtained a permit to conduct tourist and recreational activities. It is very likely that you can write that Chion beach will not appear on the list of Blue Flag prizes for a long time.
The numbers shown in this photo are no longer valid.
At present, Greece has less than 500 seats awarded the Blue Flag
As we wrote in the introduction to this article, apart from Chiona, on the list of places that received the Blue Flag award, there were 37 other beaches. Most of these places were on three Greek islands: Thira, Kefalonia and Zakyntos, which with 18 beaches is the leader of this infamous list.
Receiving the Blue Flag distinction is the result of the work of controllers who have performed unannounced visits to Greek beaches over the past few weeks. According to the official communication of the Greek Society for Nature Conservation, employees of this organization found a number of failures in these places regarding compliance with the Blue Flag rules and criteria. In particular, these shortcomings related to the lack of activities regarding the protection of the coastal environment, the safety of bathers, the lack of proper information, and the maintenance of cleanliness.
This year's receipt of the Blue Flag distinction means not only lowering the prestige of these places during this year's season. Beaches where deficiencies have been identified will not be able to participate in this program next year. This means that in 2019 we will certainly not see them on the list of awarded beaches. Most likely, Greece will also have great difficulty in maintaining the current record number of 535 places using the Blue Flag .