Grand Beach, a popular summer hangout in southern Manitoba, has now been recognized internationally as a safe and environmentally sound beach.

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced Tuesday that Grand Beach has earned the Blue Flag designation for "extraordinary and safe beaches."

The Blue Flag has been awarded to more than 3,000 beaches around the world, including 17 beaches and four marinas in Canada.

To earn the designation, beaches are judged by an international expert jury on 33 criteria, including water quality, environmental education, safety and services.

Environmental Defence, which administers the Blue Flag program in Canada, says the designation will help Grand Beach stand out as a tourist attraction.

"There are a lot of people, you know, coming from Europe where this has been around for so long that they're looking for the Blue Flag," says Brett Tryon, the organization's Blue Flag Coordinator.