However, he has also confirmed that the beach itself will not be closed to visitors, as they will still be able access the beach via an alternative route.
“It was decided in a meeting with national park officials yesterday (Sept 28) that Maya Bay will go into a restoration period for about three months, from June to September, or thereabouts,” said Mr Worapoj.
“We must do this to allow the marine environment to recover from heavy tourism,” Said Mr Worapoj.
“However, we do not call it ‘closed’. Visitors will still be allowed to visit the bay, but through the back route, via Samah Bay,” he added.
As far back as Dec 2015 concerns were raised that May a bay was facing coral extinction and a plague of other environmental concerns brought on by ‘overtourism’.
The island, known for its marine life and a top tourism destination for more than 20 years, was then seeking help from the government and tourism operators to look after its natural resources. (See story here.)
In July 2016, marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat warned that Maya Bay was overcrowded with tourists and boats, posing a serious threat to the environment, particularly coral.
Mr Thon, deputy dean of the fisheries faculty at Kasetsart University, said he was shocked during a recent visit to see the entire bay was jammed with both long-tail and speed boat ferries as tourists from inside and outside the country, particularly China and Europe, crammed on to famous Ko Phi Phi Le island. (See story here.)
In April this year, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief, Thanya Nethithammakul, said his department had considered closing the beach in the Hat Nopparat- Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park for some time (See story here).