The beach is one 38 across Wales to have been awarded this highly sought after international recognition.
The authority has invested almost £4m over the past decade to improve facilities at the beach as part of its commitment to regenerate the beachfront and promenade.
Neil Thomas, Co-ordinator for Sport and Active Living for Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council said: “This is a tremendous accolade for Aberavon Beach which will in turn further boost tourism in our county borough. In these difficult economic times, people can come to Aberavon Beach knowing that it’s up there with the best in the world. This compliments our other world class tourism attractions such as Margam Country Park, Afan Forest and the industrial heritage of the Neath Valley area. Awards like this don’t just happen. It is the result of a lot of hard work and investment and I am delighted to see the council’s plans for the future of the seafront coming to fruition.”
Up until the mind 1960’s Aberavon Beach was once a vibrant destination for miners and their families. But, changing economic and social conditions led to its decline. However, in 1998 the authority adopted a strategy to improve the physical environment of the area, increase tourism and leisure facilities and ultimately, achieve Blue Flag status for the first time in 2008.
The authority has attracted a variety funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and European Funding to enhance the physical environment of the beach and provide new facilities.
More than £1.5m was spent on improving parking facilities near the beach, landscaping the surrounding area, installing new promenade railings and improving the signs, lightings and street furniture.
Almost £2m was invested in improving leisure facilities, including the development of a sandcastle play area and skateboard park for the children and £950,000 funded the new amphitheatre, piazza and toilets.
In addition, the beachfront was brought to life by the introduction of modern sculptures.
It is estimated that well over £30m of private sector investment has taken place on the seafront since the inception of the seafront strategy.
This investment has helped rejuvenate the area and boost the local economy for residents and visitors alike. The result is a new improved image for Aberavon that local residents are proud of and is attractive to visitors and investors.
19th May 2009
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Press release