The world-renowned tourist attraction, set within the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park, has been closed to visitors since June 1 and was initially set to reopen on Oct1, a date that was then extended to Nov 1. (See story here.)
As reported by The Phuket News yesterday, officials from the Department of National Parks (DNP) in Bangkok have declared Maya Bay, including Loh Samah Bay, a tourist no-go zone until the marine environment improves to their satisfaction.
The announcement came in a letter from the DNP dated Sept 28 and posted on the Facebook page of Director General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Thaya Netithammakun on Monday (Oct 1).
Speaking to The Phuket News yesterday (Oct 2), Chief of the Hat Nopparat-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park Worapoj Lomlim confirmed, “The closure of Loh Samah and Maya bays was reconsidered again on Sept 25. Many officials including experts from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and others including in particular marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat were involved in this meeting. The decision they reached was set out in an official letter dated Sept 28.”
He repeated, “Tourist will not be allowed at Maya Bay and Loh Samah Bay.” (See story here.)
The announcement brought howls of protest from tour firms and related businesses in Krabi reports the Bangkok Post. (See story here.)
Wattrapol Chanthararo, chairman of the Koh Phi Phi Tourism Business Club, said the closure of Maya Bay would certainly affect tourism on the island as a whole. Authorities did not seek the views of any local residents before making the decision.
Tourists who already booked tour packages to visit the bay during dates after the closure would not be able to enter the area. This would affect tourism not just on Koh Phi Phi, but also in Krabi province in general, he said.
Mr Wattrapol also said he will call a meeting of club members on Oct 8 or 9 to discuss ways around the problems caused by the closure.