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THE prestigious Blue Flag, which certifies the quality, standards and services of Spain’s beaches, will be flying on 43 of them in the Canary Islands this summer, with six ports also rewarded. There will also be big smiles all round again in mainland Spain, which has retained its world-record with 669 flags. Last year, the flag occupied 50 beaches across the Canary Islands. But seven beaches were deemed to have dropped their standards this year, while Adeje withdrew from this campaign because the Council’s improvement scheme would not have been completed in time, as explained below. But four Fuerteventura bea-ches will not be flying the flag, either, this year. Some 56 beaches across the archipelago were offered as Blue Flag candidates, a total of nine fewer than last year. And on top of that decline, 13 applicants were denied. Gran Canaria boasts 10 Blue Flags, the Canaries’ highest total, despite the loss of one. Tenerife’s flags will be displayed on the beaches of La Arena; the beach and coves of La Jaquita; El Camisón and Las Vistas; the Pools of Bajamar; the Arena-Mesa del Mar; the Playa Jardín and San Telmo complex, and, finally, El Socorro. Meanwhile, the provinces of Málaga and Huelva have lost eight Blue Flags apiece, including the former’s famous Cabo Pino, in Marbella. The province of Cádiz has also lost the quality indicator for its well-known Zahara de los Atunes, and Almería has also lost one. Some town halls, however, opted not to apply for Blue Flags, conscious that they were not up to scratch through, among other reasons, failure to comply with the Ley de Costas (Coastal Law), poor waste management, or inferior bathing-water quality. But with a total of 669 Blue Flags, of which 566 are for beaches, 98 for yachting marinas and five for ports for sustainable craft, Spain still wins hands-down, worldwide. The Government’s Tourism Secretary, Isabel Oliver, claimed the smaller number of Blue Flags on Spanish beaches, from next month, “was not a drama”. She added: “The requirements are very demanding, and show concern for the preservation and care of these beaches. “The objective is for Spain to be recognised as a great destination for responsible tourism, by both visitors and residents.” The Blue Flag award requires beaches to meet extremely stringent and exacting standards covering cleanliness, water quality, safety, waste management, superior facilities and environmental management, all of which come at a great financial cost and involve considerable work, but which is a worthwhile investment because of the tourism income a successful blue flag bid generates.


Canary Islands


Cheap Flights to St.Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is the place miracles are made. Today, Russia’s second largest city is known for its stunning tsarist architecture, fashionable restaurants, shopping and electric nightlife, all set along the beautiful Neva River. But St. Petersburg is also the site of some of the most pivotal moments in Russia's history, most notably the Siege of Leningrad.

One of the most awesome spectacles you can see once you've stepped off a flight to St. Petersburg are the “white nights” that occur in the city in the summer. Find cheap flights to St. Petersburg in June and July and watch in awe as the city glows from the prolonged twilight. The sun never drops far enough below the horizon to create the usual nighttime darkness, so the city is constantly lit up under the miraculous white light.

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