Saturday, 17 November, 2018


Thai beach closes indefinitely to recover from tourism

9 2018 shows a crowd of tourists on the Maya Bay beach on the southern Thai island of Koh Phi Phi. Across the region Southeast Asia's once-pristine beaches are reeling from decades of unchecked tourism as governments scram Image Thailand's Maya Bay was made famous by The Beach
Hannah Rogers | 03 October, 2018, 22:17

However, Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation confirmed this week that the bay would stay closed, giving no indication of when they expect it to reopen. The announcement was published on Monday in the Royal Gazette and has made global headlines yesterday - CNN and express.co.uk amongst many others. The movie has attracted millions of tourists to the island and the bay itself.

The move to close Maya Bay earlier this year followed on the heels of the Philippines government's decision to shutter the popular tourist destination of Boracay for six months, beginning April 26, over concerns the island's famous beaches and clear blue waters have been transformed into a "cesspool" due to sustained environmental damage.

The order, effective from October 1, also includes the Loh Samah Bay in the eastern part of the island, on the opposite side of Maya Bay.

Officials say the area's reefs need plenty of time to recover if the area is to survive.

Reportedly it will take years for the coral reef to recover as it only grows around half a centimetre each year.

For the past 18 years, up to 6,000 visitors have been making the trip to see it every day, getting there by boat from the nearby resorts of Phi Phi, Phuket and Krabi. The ban was imposed without hearing their opinions, he claims. He would forward their conclusions to the Krabi governor and the related agencies.

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". The New York Post quotes him as saying they have evaluated the environment surrounding the beach each month and discovered that the up to 5,000 people visiting it daily has seriously destroyed it. This would affect tourism not just on Koh Phi Phi, but also in Krabi province in general, he said.

Tourists who already booked tour packages to visit the bay during dates after the closure would not be able to enter the area. All these ideas are being considered by the authority and marine experts.

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