Maya Bay, one of the worlds’ most famous beaches, has been closed indefinitely as Thailand attempt to recover from years of damage caused by tourists.
The location, on Ko Phi Phi Leh island, became Thailand’s most popular destination following the release of Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. Government officials estimate that around 5,000 people and 200 boats have been visiting every day in recent years.
Campaigners and locals have been pushing for a temporary closure due to the growing sustained and extensive environmental damage. Thai officials, who were initially reluctant to enforce closure due to its popularity, eventually announced a four-month cooling period which was implemented from June 1st. It is believed that Maya Bay generates around £9.5million in revenue a year.
However, following a close environmental inspection of the damage caused to the area, the closure has now been extended to last at least a year. According to stats released, the pollution has resulted in 80% of the coral around Maya Bay to be destroyed.
Director of the national parks, Songtam Suksawang, said: “We have evaluated each month and found out that the ecological system was seriously destroyed from tourism of up to 5,000 people daily.
“It’s very difficult to remedy and rehabilitate because its beach was completely destroyed as well the plants which cover it,” he continued.