Friday, 10 May 2019 05:45

Thailand: Tropical bay from 'The Beach' to close until 2021

A Thai bay that was made iconic by its appearance in the film The Beach is to remain closed until 2021.

Maya Bay, on the island of Phi Phi Leh, was temporarily closed last year because a sharp rise in the number of visitors was damaging the environment.

Before the closure, up to 5,000 tourists were visiting the island every day, causing most of its corals to die.

Authorities have now the extended the ban on visits by two years to give more time for Maya Bay's ecology to recover.

The beach featured prominently in the 2000 film of that name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Since the bay closed last year, blacktip reef sharks have been sighted swimming in the waters of the bay.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, of the Thai department of national parks, told AFP news agency that when the park reopens the number of visitor will be restricted and boats will be banned from mooring within the bay's waters.

Local tourist operators have said they rely on the beach.

The head of the local tourism association, Wattana Rerngsamut, told AFP that there should be public hearings to "so that local people can earn a living".

(BBC)

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