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Officials consider reopening Maya Bay to boost tourism

Officials consider reopening Maya Bay to boost tourism

PHUKET: World-famous Maya Bay may be reopened to limited numbers of tourists in the coming months as a way to help boost tourism to the Andaman region.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 5 November 2020, 11:18AM

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-Archa on Tuesday said the bay may be reopened within six months. His announcement came during an inspection visit of the area.

Located in the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi Marine National Park, Maya Bay has been closed for more than two years to allow the local marine ecosystem recover from years of heavy tourism.

Over the years, Maya Bay had become an international tourism magnet, luring visitors from all over the world who want to visit the park. The park’s popularity skyrocketed after the release of the Hollywood film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, 20 years ago.

By 2017, the daily number of visitors was almost 5,000, but the department estimated that the bay and island could only accommodate 2,400 tourists per day. In total, 1.38mn tourists visited the bay in 2016, and 1.65mn visited in 2017.

Mr Warawut on Tuesday explained that at this stage a pier is under construction at Loh Sama Bay, located on the other side of Phi Phi Leh island. 

“After Maya Bay reopens, only 350 tourists per day will be allowed to visit. However no boats will be allowed to anchor near the shore,” Mr Warawut said.

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“This will be a new measure for traveling to Maya Bay,” he added.

A report by state news agency NNT explained that a panel of experts will first be consulted about the suitability of the plan.

The committee of experts will first be consulted on the feasibility of allowing no more than 350 people to visit the island daily and the plan to ensure no boats are anchored near the shore.

If the panel agrees, the island will be opened to tourists next year, said the report.

The news follows Mr Warawut presiding over the opening ceremony for a 360-degree viewpoint tower on nearby Koh Hong on Sunday (Nov 1).

Present to welcome the minister were Krabi Provincial Governor ML Kitibodee Pravitra, Than Bok Khorani National Park Chief Theekhawut Sriburin, and a host of other officials.

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Tbird | 09 November 2020 - 22:40:58

maverick, re:"Absolute disgrace should be kept closed...I dived in the caves there two weeks ago", umm, I am guessing that self-awareness is not one of your strengths. " Do as I say, not as I do...." LOL!

Kurt | 09 November 2020 - 11:54:23

I 'translate' ...boost tourism.. as being money boost business. And who believes that '350 tourists only' thing?  In no time we will see there that heavy 'overtourism' again. We all know how things work here. Mark my words.

JohnC | 06 November 2020 - 11:11:13

Do they seriously think that is a big enough attraction to get tourists to come here despite the worldwide crisis? Let's all go to Thailand to see Maya Bay. Yeah nah! 

maverick | 06 November 2020 - 07:32:18

Absolute disgrace should be kept closed - I dived in the caves there two weeks ago and whilst sea life is recovering it’s a long process and of tour operators could be trusted to abide by the rules it might work but they won’t and it will end in tears 

Capricornball | 05 November 2020 - 22:10:16

Absurd...It is very unfortunate that Thailand seems unable to put anyone in charge that has a clue how to manage any of their wonderful natural resources.  Any of these so-called "managers" is willing to change course at the drop of a hat just to get some baht flowing.  Nothing has been learned from past blunders.

Foot | 05 November 2020 - 19:01:54

It would be good publicity to reopen.  There won't be any tourists for years to come, anyway.

Nasa12 | 05 November 2020 - 17:37:19

Money first.


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