“I never said that Maya Bay might be kept closed for up to five years to recover. Nothing has changed. I ask other media to fix their facts,” Mr Worapoj told The Phuket News this afternoon (April 18).
The news reports making the claims circulated in the Thai media last night.
“I don’t know how this news came to be published in this way, because I do not have the authority to declare Maya Bay open or closed,” he said.
Mr Worapoj confirmed that the marine ecosystem within the bay is recovering from environmental damage caused by years of heavy overtourism, which saw thousands of visitors trample the sands and damage the corals each day.
“The ecological system in Maya Bay is getting better. It has improved very much now that is has been closed (since June 1 last year, see story here). Blacktip reef sharks have returned and the corals are continuing to regrow,” he said.
Asked when he believed Maya Bay might reopen to tourists again, Mr Worapoj said, “Everything depends on how well the bay recovers naturally.
“I can’t confirm when it will reopen. As I said, it is not within my power to reopen it,” he repeated.