Maya Bay: Thailand’s famous beach has now closed for four months
Maya Bay has been damaged over time by the huge influx of tourists that visit every year.
Since the release of the famous film The Beach 18 years ago, many travellers have headed to the island to explore it for themselves.
As Thailand has become popular with backpackers and luxury resort tourists, the damage to the island and the coral has intensified.
Plastic has also washed up on the shores as tourists throw their waste into the ocean.
Maya Bay has now closed from today (June 1) and will remain shut for tourists for the next four months.
The closure will affect the travel industry, as one of the largest economies for Thailand
The closure will affect the travel industry, as one of the largest economies for Thailand.
Tourism is approximately 12 per cent of Southeast Asia’s economy, with recent data suggesting a whopping 2.5 million visitors could head to Ko Phi Phi in 2018.
Boat tours regularly travel to the island, with an estimated 5,000 tourists per day using small speedboats and larger party boats.
Summer season is a popular time for holidaymakers, and with the closure lasting until September 30, could mean tourists head to other islands instead.
While Ko Phi Phi, where Maya Bay is found, is a popular island, others such as Koh Tai and Koh Samui also see a high number of visitors every day.
Maya Bay: Tourism has plagued the Thailand beach and damaged it
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has issued a statement confirming that boats will not be allowed to moor on the island, and can only see the island by a natural entrance.
This will be monitored by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).
“During the four-month period, the DNP will undertake a coastal and marine environment quality evaluation study on the condition of reef and beach resources, environmental control and tourism management,” the TAT statement explained.
“This is to properly determine measures for environmental sustainability of Maya Bay during future off-tourist seasons.”
Twitter users were both pleased to see the beach is protected, as well as annoyed by the closure.
Maya Bay: The beach will recover during the summer season
One person tweeted: “So glad I got to visit Maya Bay before it shut to the public even if it is an overcrowded disappointment.”
Another Twitter user wasn’t so lucky: “Can’t believe Maya Bay in Thailand is shutting 2 months before I go, sooo gutted I won’t get to visit it.”
Some were pleased that it was being shut down: “Absolutely made up they are closing off Maya Bay. Sad to see it destroyed gradually so hopefully now it gets the time to recover and be ace again.”
When it reopens, a tourist cap could also be imposed, similar to other famous destinations around the world.
Venice and Dubrovnik have been affected in recent years due to over tourism, with both suggesting limited numbers per day to protect the ancient buildings and history.