Thailand's Maya Bay, Made Famous by 'The Beach,' Is Closed Indefinitely
First Boracay, now Maya Bay. The postcard-worthy beach destinationâ"made famous by the hit movie The Beach in 2000â"has been forced to close indefinitely due to overtourism. While it was previously announced in June that Maya Bay would close for four months to rehabilitate, Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said Tuesday that the bay needs more time to recover, reports CNN.
A stark contrast to the idyllic hidden bay portrayed in the movie, the real "Beach" on Ko Phi Phi Island has been put under severe environmental strain thanks to the vast numbers of visitors that crowd it. At the time of the initial closure, Maya Bay was "littered with trash, while visitors continue to flock to the area on overcrowded snorkel boats"â"not unlike the scene at Boracay in the Philippines, which closed to the public in Apri l (it's slated for a "soft" reopening at the end of October, but won't be fully restored until the end of 2019). Although Maya Bay didn't attract quite as many daily tourists as Boracayâ"5,000, as opposed to 6,400â"the resulting damage is still significant. It's estimated that about 80 percent of the coral reefs around Maya Bay have been destroyed due to "pollution from litter, boats and [sunscreen]," according to The Guardian, and it might take years for them to bounce back. As a result, tourists will have to go elsewhere until the ecosystems recover.
The effects of overtourism have spread to several other islands around the world as well. Fernando do Noronha in Brazil has a strict tourist limit of 460 people at any given time, and Italy's rosy-tinged Spiaggia Rosa banned visitors as far back as 1994. But there are still plenty of other places to visit insteadâ"we recently rounded up a list of alternative island destina tions, swapping Boracay for Siargo in the Philippines (home to "natural tide pools" and a vibrant surfing scene), or Spiaggia Rosa for Pink Beach on Bonaire. Read more about the rest here.Related Stories, hiddenRelated Stories
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