Thailand's Maya Bay from The Beach will close to tourists in seven days
By Rosie Gizauskas23rd May 2018, 11:40 amUpdated: 23rd May 2018, 12:13 pm
MAYA Bay in Thailand is about to shut to tourists so that it is able to recover from the damage made to its coral reefs.
The beach â" made famous by the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach - will shut for four months from June 1.
This will also give the bay the chance to get over the environmental impact made by the hordes of tourists which have flooded to it in their thousands each day.
Thailandâs tourist agency says that up to 5,000 people have been heading there every day on speedboats and ferries.
The area's coral reefs have been damaged by warmer temperatures and a growing numbers of tourists.
Kanokkittika Kritwutikon, director of the Tourism Authority o f Thailand's office in Phuket, said: "This is one way to try to preserve our natural heritage, which is a vital part of our important tourism industry.
No boats will be allowed to moor in the bay, said a tour operator, Maya Bay Tours.
Its website reads: "We have been advised that Maya Bay will close from June 1 to September 30 2018 to allow some recovery time for the bay.
"No boats will be allowed to moor in Maya Bay, but we will run past the bay."
Tourism makes up about 12 percent of Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, but there has been increasing concern about Thailand's ability to manage its rapidly growing number of visitors and the environmental impact of mass tourism.< p>This year the country banned smoking and littering at 24 beachside locations over environmental concerns.
Thailand is among the world's biggest contributors to ocean waste, posing a serious threat to wildlife, the magazine Science said in a report in 2015.
Some in the tourism industry said Maya Bay's closure would have little impact on tourism, however.Terrified tourists fled in panic as rival JET SKI operators shot each other dead on Koh Samui paradise beach in Thailand
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Geng, 35, a hotel receptionist on Phi Phi Island, said: "There are other places to visit which are equally interesting.
"June to September is not high season. I can take tourists to other beaches, like Monkey Beach and Bamboo Island."
Sun Online Travel previously revealed the impact of environmental damage on Maya Bay - included the huge amount of plastic washed up on its shores.