Maya Bay is part of the national park in the province of Krabi known as Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi. It is a site very popular to tourists from all over the world but an order from the Deparment of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will no longer allow tourists to visit. The closure order will last for four months but divers have alternative places to go to such as Siimilan island diving among many other marine parks in the country.
The department deemed it necessary to close Maya Bay because they have seen the negative impact of the high influx of tourists in the marine park which has caused great deterioration to its ecological system.
The closure will start on June 1 and will last until September 30. This is a measure taken by the marine national park department to let the popular island have a rest from too many visitors. This was confirmed by Thanya Nethithamakul, the department chief.
Before the closure was finalized, a huge number of business operators are against the move because it will impact the campaign the department has been making in order to increase the tourism in Maya Bay. Despite its small size, the beach became a popular attraction even more after it has been featured in a film called The Beach. As of writing, over 4,000 tourists are visiting Maya Bay every day and this number is more than the carrying capacity of the area.
It was 2017 when the temporary closure was proposed by an academic committee. The request was heard by the management of the marine national park but objections from business operators stalled the implementation.
Songtham Suksawang, the director of National Parks Office, said that the decision of the department is now agreed upon by every stakeholders as well as business operators and the academics sector. They cannot deny the fact that the island has been negatively impacted by tourism thus, it has reached a point of deterioration.
Aside from the closure, there are also plans in place to improve the current ecological system of the area. For now, tourists can try Similan island diving and experience a better Maya Bay once it has recovered.