The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in Thailand is proposing to temporarily close Maya Bay to give the world-famous beach’s ecology time to recover. The bay, located in the Phi Phi Islands, rose to fame after the hit movie The Beach was filmed there in 1999. Maya Bay is a stunningly beautiful bay that’s sheltered by 100-metre high cliffs on three sides; however, the government department revealed the marine ecological system has suffered from the high footfall in the region.
Destination Asia supports the proposed closure as we believe it is imperative the destinations we work in are sustainably managed, with minimal impact upon the natural environment.
“We have seen the success of nature recovery after closing other tourist spots and we think the same approach could work at Maya Bay. We are looking into the possibility and a proper time to close it,” commented Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief, Thanya Nethithammakul.
Sarayuth Tanthien, chief of the Noppharat Thara Beach-Phi Phi Islands National Park, said he has discussed the issue with tour operators and there was no objection to the closure, but the department should inform operators in advance so they can alter their tour programs.
“If possible, we will close the bay from July to September this year. That is the monsoon season and fewer tourists visit the beach. We also plan to introduce measures to control the number of visitors,” he said.
‘Addie’ Hirunkate, Managing Director of Destination Asia Thailand said, “I support the closure of Maya Bay during the monsoon period. The area needs time to recover following decades of high visitor numbers. The Similan and Surin Islands are closed from 15 May – 30 September allowing the natural environment time to rejuvenate, the same – a similar practice should be adopted here.”
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