Photo Credit: This photo taken on April 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 scramble to confront trash-filled waters and environmental degradation without puncturing a key economic driver. / AFP PHOTO / Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / TO GO WITH AFP STORY "THAILAND-INDONESIA-PHILIPPINES-TOURISM-ENVIRONMENT" by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA with Joe FREEMAN (Photo credit should read LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Beach Leonardo DiCaprio Made Famous Shuts Down To Recover From Tourists
A popular beach in Thailand had to learn the hard way that too many tourists can actually be a bad thing. MSN claims that Maya Bay, located on the island Phi Phi Leh by the Andaman Sea, will have to be closed indefinitely for its ecosystem to recover from the thousands of tourists that visit it on such a consistent basis.
The exotic Thai beach was made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio when he starred in the movie The Beach. Now, the tourist spot has about 6,000 people coming to visit every single day. Maya Bay was initially closed for a total of four months on June 1. However, Thai authorities are now saying that that’s not enough time for the beach’s ecosystem to fully heal. Authorities are extending its closing to restore the beach’s coral reefs, which have become severely damaged by a large number of tourists and hotter temperatures.
“Four months’ closure was not enough,” Songtham Sukswang, the director of the Office of National Parks, told Reuters. “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.”
Although this closing will most likely benefit the beach in the long run, it could also potentially hurt the country’s economy. Reportedly, 12% of Thailand’s economy comes from tourism. The closing of the beach may be a significant blow if the majority of tourists only want to visit the nation because of it. Thailand officials are aware of this. They’re now in the process to learn how to manage better the increasing amount of visitors that the country receives.
Nevertheless, we’re sure that there are many more attractions that the beautiful nation of Thailand has to offer visitors who vacation in the southeast Asian getaway.