What is the Q flag and what does it mean

What is the Q flag and what does it mean
Posted on 20-02-2022

Surely at some point, you will have noticed that the Q symbol is found on some flags, these flags that have this symbol are found on plates and badges that are placed in open spaces and outdoors. If the question of what this symbol means and why it is placed on the flags has arisen, today you will be able to discover what a Q flag means.


Also known as the ICE, the Institute for Tourist Quality is a non-profit organization whose objective is to annually award the Q flags and badges, which mean tourist quality.

This organization was created in 2000 with the aim of being able to promote the tourism sector and thus ensure the quality of all the services that tourism companies are responsible for offering in different areas. ICE is made up of the most important tourism business organizations in the country of Spain.

They even have the presence of the Secretary of State for Tourism, the autonomous communities, and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.


What has to be done in order to obtain a Q flag for tourist quality is that any establishment, tourist space, facilities at the time of requesting it, have complied with and have in order all those service quality standards, which were established by the ICE.

Something important that you should know is that this regulation is voluntary, but totally essential if you want to have a Q flag that demonstrates the Spanish tourist quality mark of a site. The requirements that are requested to be worthy of it refer to the provision of services, systems, and methods that are offered in order to guarantee their quality.


All those companies and facilities that provide tourist services can voluntarily subscribe to this quality symbol. In order to obtain it, they must comply with all the service quality regulations required by ICE. This affects up to 25 subsectors that are related to tourism.

You will be able to find identification plates and panels in a large number of facilities and buildings, which you will also be able to see on beaches and natural spaces. There is also a Q award from the Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality.

The subsectors that can obtain the Q quality flag are rural accommodation, museums, spas, campsites, golf courses, ski resorts, nightlife venues, tourist apartments, hotels, congress palaces, tourist boards, active tourism, health tourism, hostess services, marinas, restaurant services, protected natural areas, and beaches.


Q flag

This symbol of quality that we see in the waving flags of some beaches, constitutes the distinction granted by ICE, with the aim of being able to recognize and locate the tourist quality mark on beaches. This Q flag is only granted to those who comply without fail with the UNE 187001 standard, in this standard the requirements are compiled so that a beach can obtain such a valuable badge.

An example of this is that the sand of a beach must be completely impeccable, in addition, its water must be clean and suitable for people to bathe, the hygienic conditions of a beach and its nautical-sports facilities must be absolutely excellent. Something that cannot be missing is the due security services, in the same way, the first aid.

So to explain it in a shorter way, you will only see a Q flag for tourist quality waving on beaches that are in perfect condition. You must bear in mind that the number of these flags will always vary annually, that is, this number can either increase or decrease, it will always depend on the conditions in which a beach is and if it manages to win or lose flags.


Currently, in the country of Spain, there are a total of 296 beaches that have Q flags for tourist quality. And 324 Spanish beaches obtain the Q flag and 'Safe Tourism Certified'. Something curious about this is that 123 beaches of them are in Andalusia, which is the area with the most Q flags in Spain, there is also the Valencian Community with an amount of 55, 40 in Murcia, 24 in the Balearic Islands, 19 in Galicia, 15 in Catalonia, 12 in Cantabria, 3 in Asturias, 2 in Ceuta and 1 in the Canary Islands.

In any of these beaches that you see waving a Q-flag means that it is a clean and safe area in which you can enjoy your leisure time with all the tranquility and peace that you have been looking for since you will have at hand a great quality in services and attention that will put your mood through the roof.

Something incredible about these Q flags is that they can also be seen as a guarantee and certification mark, which is responsible for accrediting compliance with the well-known technical specification UNE 0066.20, which firmly establishes the guidelines and recommendations for enjoying the beach while reducing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus on our beaches.

In the case of a nautical-sports facility, it would be UNE 0066-15. Recently, there was an act of delivery of Q flags, which was attended by Minister Reyes Maroto and the president of ICTE Miguel Mirones. In Spain, the Institute for Tourist Quality has delivered the Q and Safe Tourism Certified flags, leaving the number of 324 Spanish beaches as a new total.

But not only the old number of 296 beaches was replaced by 324, but flags were also awarded to 98 Spanish coastal municipalities and 36 nautical-sports facilities. So you know, anywhere in Spain you see a Q flag waving, that shows quality, it is a place worth stopping and taking your friends or family to have a good time relaxing.


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