KRABI — National park officials have agreed to the return of tourists to the scenic Maya Bay after more than three years of closure for the sake of ecological rehabilitation, media reports say.
The decision to reopen Maya Bay was announced by Kasetsart University marine ecologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat, who wrote online that a national park committee came up with a set of measures to ensure that human visitors would not cause damages to the island again.
Regulations include capping the number of visitors to 375 people at any given time; boats and ferries are banned from directly entering the coral-rich bay, they must use a new nearby pier instead; and no swimming will be allowed.
Thon said the policies are meant to protect the coral, reef sharks, and other marine creatures that live in the area.
Maya Bay shot to international fame after serving as the location for the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach, though the production crew also drew criticism for altering landscape at the island for the filming.
After years of virtually unrestricted mass tourism, causing severe damages to the local environment, the authorities decided to seal off Maya Bay from visitors in 2018. The national park department has yet to formally announce when the site will be open to visitors again.