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In a significant step towards seaside ecotourism, Dubai has joined the international Blue Flag programme that ensures full compliance to stringent environmental standards.

The coastal area that holds some of Dubai’s most luxurious resorts, the Jumeirah and Mamzar public beaches, have recently been certified to satisfy Blue Flag’s international standards of water quality, safety and environmental management in general. Certification is pending for other beaches as well.

The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development of beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services.

Foreign tourist numbers in Dubai are steadily rising. In 2012, the emirate welcomed 9.9 million international visitors, a 9% increase compared to the previous year.

Dubai’s goal is to double the number of international tourists by the year 2020.