Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Famous Thai beach is closed indefinitely due to overtourism

Thai Beach That Featured In Leonardo Di Caprio Film Closes Indefinitely Thai beach closes indefinitely to recover from tourism
Pablo Mccormick | 03 October, 2018, 12:01

An announcement signed on Sept 28 by National Parks head Thanya Nethithammakul extended the closure of the bay indefinitely from Oct 1 onwards, until the marine and coastal resources and environment system returns to normal.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is extending the closure of Maya Bay's Had Nopparat Tara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park in Krabi with no clear schedule for when it might re-open.

Initially set to reopen next month, Krabi province's Maya Beach - which became world-famous as a setting for Hollywood film "The Beach" in 2000, won't welcome any visitors until the ecology there rejuvenates to its "original state", a conservation department official announced Tuesday.

After the island closed its doors, the national park and wildlife authority started planting hundreds of corals in Maya Bay, and some have started growing branches, DNP director-general Jongklai Worapongsatorn said, adding a baby shark was also spotted in the bay that was once filled with tour boats.

Songtham said: "We understand tourism is a source of income for the community and the country, but if we continue to exploit the natural heritage until it is beyond recovery, tourism would completely end since no one would come anymore".

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"We need at least a year or even up to two years or maybe more for the environment to recover - this includes the coral reefs, mangrove and the beach".

"Over the last few months, the monsoon season and rough sea conditions have indeed hindered the efforts of coral rehabilitation, but we have no doubt that the longer term objectives. will be met".

Up to 6,000 visitors visited the beach every day, travelling by speedboat from the nearby resort islands of PhiPhi and Phuket and Krabi on the mainland.

He repeated, "Tourist will not be allowed at Maya Bay and Loh Samah Bay".

Watpol Chantaro, president of Phi Phi Leh Island travel business association, said of the latest announcement that it would badly impact local tourism.

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"The government has to consider how then can they assist them".

Unlike tiny Maya Bay, which has no hotels or inhabitants and prohibits overnight stays, the popular Philippines beach destination is home to as many as 17,000 people, many of whom are directly engaged in the tourism industry.

Boracay is due to reopen in phases, beginning this month.

This is an increase of nearly half a million compared to past year.

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