U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, December 1, 2011 – The Department of Tourism is proud to report that four of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ beaches have received the prestigious Blue Flag certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Blue Flags were raised today at Lindbergh Bay at the Emerald Beach Resort and Great Bay at The Ritz Carlton on St. Thomas; Trunk Bay on St. John and Pelican Cove at the Palms at Pelican Cove Beach Resort on St. Croix.

The exclusive Blue Flag eco-label is awarded to beaches and marinas worldwide that meet the program’s 32 criteria, which mandate standards for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management. As a result, guests of these four newly-flagged public beaches can rest assured that they will have easy access to information and services including: updated details on water quality, trash receptacles, guidelines on beach code-of-conduct, safety guidelines, signage displaying educational information about the beaches’ eco-systems, regularly cleaned bathroom facilities, lifesaving equipment, wheelchair access and facilities for the disabled.

“It’s no secret that St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are home to some of the most pristine beaches in the world,” said Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “Today, we wave these Blue Flags as testaments to the outstanding quality of our beaches and the sanctuary they provide travelers around the world in search of an inimitable island escape.”

The Blue Flag certification is just one more reason why St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are appealing to the growing segment of eco-conscious travelers. Not only is the Territory home to the Virgin Islands National Park, Buck Island Reef National Monument and Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve, but it also offers award-winning eco-resort accommodations – most notably Maho Bay Camps and Estate Concordia Preserve – and a plethora of sustainable outdoor activities like snorkeling, diving, hiking, paddle-boarding, kite-surfing and kayaking.

About the Blue Flag Program

The Blue Flag is an International highly recognized eco-label awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a nongovernmental environmental organization promoting sustainable development through environmental education. FEE is represented by national organizations in each of the participating countries in Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, New Zealand, North and South Africa. To learn more about the Blue Flag program in the U.S. Virgin Islands, please visit www.blueflagusvi.org.

About the U.S. Virgin Islands

When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel—including on-line check-in—making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever.  As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Here, U.S. residents receive a $1600 duty-free allowance – the highest in the Caribbean. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens. For more information about the U.S. Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com, follow us on Twitter (Twitter.com/USVITourism) and become a fan on Facebook (Facebook.com/VisitUSVI).