Maya Bay’s beach, closed last year to allow coral restoration and beach recovery, could remain closed to visitors for many years. Maya Bay is located in the Phi Phi islands between Krabi and Phuket.
The famous Koh Phi Phi Ley beach needs time for its ecology to fully recover years of tourist abuse, this according to the Phi Phi national park chief Vorapot Lomlim as reported in Khaosod English.
“Maya Bay must continue to be closed until nature has fully recovered. We expect it will take four to five years.”
“Since Maya was closed off nearly a year ago, sea creatures like reef sharks and ghost crabs have returned to the island.”
He also reported that 23,000 corals have been planted by marine officials since the closure last year.
Maya Bay was closed to tourist on June 1 last year. The Bay first became famous as part of the setting for the 2000 film ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo Di Caprio. That fame would lead to a surge in tourists and a rapacious local tourist industry that ramped up the numbers of tours to cater for the international popularity.
At its peak Maya Bay, the south’s most popular attraction, was receiving up to 5-6,000 tourists a day. Unwittingly, the tourists were trampling the beach and surrounding areas whilst the boats delivering them to the famous beach were throwing anchors over the side, destroying the natural coral.
Initially the national park chiefs closed off Maya Bay access for a period of three months but it soon became apparent that the fragile bay was going to need a lot longer to recover. Officials reported that up to 50 percent of the Bay’s coral was dead.
SOURCE: The Thaiger / Khaosod English