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Maya Bay in the past / TAT

Thai beach from DiCaprio movie closes

The shores in Thailand made famous by The Beach are temporarily closed due to persistent overtourism.

The pristine, empty shores of the beach in Thailand that was made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach have been temporarily closed because of overtourism.

Since the film was released in the year 2000, tourism to Maya Bay on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, the area has skyrocketed. Now the area will be closed to all visitors until the end of September.

Thailand’s department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation issued a notice saying it had realised “the deterioration of the ecosystem in the area of Maya Bay”.

At its busiest, up to 5,000 tourists a day were crowding onto the beach, which is just 250 metres long and has 14 toilets. Some 200 boats and speedboats set anchor in the bay each day.

Tourists were bringing 1.6 million baht (€43,000) per day to the area – part of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park – and critics said that despite the obvious damage state agencies continued to run campaigns to raise tourist numbers with no regard for the environment.

Coral reefs
The closure to tourists for four months is designed to help the beach recover from the damage. Surveys show that 80% of the coral reefs surrounding the bay have been destroyed by the boat traffic and pollution, stamping out virtually all marine life.

When Maya Beach reopens, it is planned that visitor numbers will be limited to 2,000 people a day, and boats will have to dock outside the bay.

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