Thailand may close tourist spot Maya Bay due to coral bleaching

Deutsche Presse Agentur The Australian 28 Apr 17;

The Thai government is considering a temporary closure of Maya Bay, a popular tourist destination in the south of the country, following the recent discovery of coral bleaching.

The planned closure - the first for Maya Bay - is expected to last three to four months in the second half of the year, according to Sarayuth Tanthien, head of Nopparat Thara - Phi Phi Island National Park.

The pristine beach of Maya Bay - part of the popular tourist destination of Phi Phi island in the southern city of Krabi - was the main filming location of The Beach, a Hollywood blockbuster released in 2000.

The plan to shut down Maya Bay temporarily may be necessary to rehabilitate marine life, Sarayuth said, after national park officials discovered bleached coral reefs, a result of sea anchor deployment.

A number of academics have campaigned for a temporary closure of Phi Phi island over the years, citing an urgent need to allow the natural environment to recover.

More than one million people visited Phi Phi island last year, with as many as 5000 visitors each day during the high season, according to the national park.

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