The temporary tourist ban on Thailand’s Maya Bay has been prolonged as authorities announced that the destination will remain closed indefinitely.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said on Tuesday that the marine ecosystem of the bay requires more time to fully recover from the warming temperatures and tourism-related damage. Maya Bay has been closed since June 1 for a rejuvenation program aimed at salvaging the coral reefs, with plans to reopen for public this month.
“Four months’ closure was not enough,” Songtham Sukswang, the director of the Office of National Parks, told Reuters.
“We need at least a year or even up to two years or maybe more for the environment to recover – this include the coral reefs, mangrove, and the beach.”
The DNP said the closure would remain “until natural resources return to normal”.
Maya Bay became a popular travel destination after its appearance in the 2000 movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The bay is part of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, which the DNP expected to see 2.5 million visitors this year, an increase of half a million from last year.