Abstract. Globalization of tourism in the last decade has been one of the most fast expanding and profitable economic sector in many countries. Inevitably, the recreational use of coastal waters has increased dramatically all over the world. In 2018 there were a record of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals, and tourists provided 1.7 trillion (US$) to the GDP of numerous countries. Since the 1970s, all countries initiated health and safety rules for coastal bathing waters. The European Union was among the first to establish rules to safeguard public health guidelines and safe bathing coastal waters. The revised Bathing Water Directive (BWD) of 2006 updated and simplified these rules, requiring Members States to monitor and assess the bathing water for at least two parameters of (faecal) bacteria. National health and environmental authorities must inform the public about bathing water quality and beach management, through the so-called bathing water profiles.
For the 21st century, harmonized international and national coastal waters health and safety rules were essential in light of the booming tourist industry. The WHO has set stringent standards over a list of pathogenic microorganisms posing potential health threats to people with frequent coastal water exposure and has establish guidelines for efficient detection procedures of pathogens. Health officials have adequate evidence from epidemiological studies and quantitative microbial risk assessments (QMRAs) of infection risk to bathers from polluted recreational water use. Most epidemiological studies showed a generally elevated risk of gastrointestinal illness in bathers compared to non-bathers swimming in polluted coastal waters. The review collected scientific studies, reports and documents on the state of water quality of bathing recreational resorts in various European countries.