Officials of the Koh Phi Phi National park authority held crisis talks on Thursday Sep 28, 2017, they were told that Maya bay has been ravaged by excessive tourism.
The Thai government is now considering a temporary low season closure of Phi Phi Islands most popular tourist location “Maya Bay – The Beach” the reason given was to allow the bay, as well as the waters in the bay, to recover ahead of the 2018 high season.
“Phi Phi Ley” is located 1.5 km from Phi Phi Don, the small Island saw a huge surge in popularity after the Leonard DiCaprio movie “The Beach” came out in 2000. Parts of the movie were shot on the beach in Maya Bay.
More than one million people visit Phi Phi islands last year, with as many as 5,000 visitors each day during the high season, according to the National park authorities.
Recent Media attention for Phi Phi Islands
Photos and global media stories have shocked some environmental officials into doing something about the massive crowds heading to Maya Bay every day, sometimes leaving standing room only on the iconic beach at High Tied
Heavy tourism involving Human activities and boat engines have degraded the quality of the water at Maya bay and, therefore, have a serious affect on Marine life and natural corals.
The planned closure the first for Maya Bay could be introduces as soon as the second half of 2018 (June-September) and is expected to last three to four months according to Sarayuth Tanthien Haad of the Nopparatthara Mu Ko Phi-Phi National Park.
The closure plans are designed to protect corals damaged attributed to human activities, a result of sea anchor deployment indiscriminately causing damage to the bay floor, as well as any remaining corals, allow them to rehabilitate and grow. Its got to the point that so many boats were visiting the bay that the coral and marine are at serious risk of being badly affected.
In order to help rejuvenate the park, the bay will be closed to all boats, however, tourists will still be able to visit the famous beach via Loh Samah Bay, allowing tourists to then walk across the island to Maya Bay.
Other national Parks like the Similans Islands close each year during the Western monsoon (low season) to allow corals & the environment to regenerate.
The collection of the National marine Park fees have had little affect on reducing tourism levels to May Bay
Also under consideration is the limitation on the number of daily visitors to all of Thailand’s national parks, but no such decision have been drawn up.