Thai bay made famous by film 'The Beach'
to close for four months
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[May 23, 2018]
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's Maya
Bay, made famous by the film "The Beach", will close to visitors for
four months from June to allow its coral reefs to recover from rising
temperatures and the environmental impact of thousands of visitors each
The bay, on Phi Phi Leh island in the Andaman Sea, was the main location
of the 2000 film starring Leonardo Di Caprio, which revealed to viewers
the stunning beauty of Thailand's turquoise seas and white-powder
beaches, spurring many to visit.
Up to 5,000 visitors go to the beach every day, says Thailand's tourism
agency, traveling by speedboat and ferries to Maya Bay, which is
sheltered by 100-meter high cliffs.
The closure from June 1 is a bid to salvage the area's coral reefs,
which have been damaged by warmer temperatures and growing numbers of
"This is one way to try to preserve our natural heritage, which is a
vital part of our important tourism industry," said Kanokkittika
Kritwutikon, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's office in
No boats will be allowed to moor in the bay, said a tour operator, Maya
"We have been advised that Maya Bay will close from 1 June to 30
September 2018 to allow some recovery time for the bay," it said on its
website. "No boats will be allowed to moor in Maya Bay, but we will run
past the bay."
Tourism receipts make 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.
[to top of second column]
Tourists pass their time as they visit Maya bay at Krabi province,
Thailand May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
This year the country banned smoking and littering at 24 beachside
locations over environmental concerns.
Thailand is among the world's biggest contributors of 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, however.
"There are other places to visit which are equally interesting,"
said Geng, 35, a hotel receptionist on Phi Phi Island, who gave only
"June to September is not high season. I can take tourists to other
beaches, like Monkey Beach and Bamboo Island."
(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre in BANGKOK and Soe Zeya Tun in PHI
PHI ISLAND; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Clarence
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