This Thai Beach Is Closing 'Indefinitely' Due to Overtourism (Update)
Update as of 05/11/19: Maya Bay will remain closed for at least another two years, according to Business Insider. The National Park Service says that the closure, which began back in 2018, is helping the area recover from damage caused by the massive number of tourists who flocked to the beach.
The good news is that the National Park Service says it's seeing improvements in the area, such as black tip sharks returning to the bay — a sign that the biodiversity of the area is on the rise. The National Park Service is also looking into putting systems in place to limit the number of tourists and boat traffic that will be allowed to enter the bay once they deem the area recovered enough to reopen.
Remember that beach from "The Beach" that was closed for the past four months? Well, we have some not-so-sunny news: It's closing indefinitely.
Maya Bay in Thailand was made popular from the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio film — so popular that officials closed it from June to September to repair some of the damage to coral reefs around the Phi Phi islands due to tourism. It was originally just supposed to be closed for a few months, although some were hoping for a more permanent option such as this one.
This week, officials from Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said "The ecosystem and the beach's physical structure have yet returned to its full condition," said the letter, in Thai, adding that they would extend the closure from October onward "until natural resources return to normal."
While Thailand regularly closes beaches, national parks and islands due to weather and ecological recovery, this is the first time it's happened in Maya Bay, reports CNN.
Tourism was so popular there that visitor numbers multiplied by the minute as boats trickled in throughout the day. The DNP also stated it expected to see a whopping 2.5 million tourists at the bay this year.