Decision on reopening of Thailand’s Maya Bay on January 1 still not final
Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is awaiting a final decision, by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, on whether to postpone the reopening of Maya Bay, in the southern coastal province of Krabi, from January 1st.
Director of the National Park Office Damras Phoprasit said today (Monday) that the department had already explained to the minister that there is no problem with the construction of the pier at Loh Sama Bay, which is the main landing point for tourist boats visiting Maya Bay.
The Environment and Natural Resources Parliamentary Committee had earlier received a communication, from the contractor tasked with the construction, that the pier might not be complete by the end of the year and the committee might ask the minister to postpone the reopening of the popular bay.
Damras also said that he is ready for the minister’s final decision adding, however, that the reopening of Maya Bay will help boost tourism and the local economy in Krabi.
Meanwhile, tourism businesses have voiced disagreement with any postponement, claiming that many tourists are waiting to visit Maya Bay, after about three years and a half of official closure.
The environment at the bay has improved significantly over that time, with the reported return of many black-tipped reef sharks and the regeneration of corals.
Even if Maya Bay does reopen, the number of visitors will be limited to 300 per round and the bay will remain open from 10am up to 4pm only.
Known as the main filming location of the 2000 Hollywood movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo Dicaprio, the Bay was closed since mid-2018 for rehabilitation of coral reefs and other marine life following widespread environmental damages due to excessive tourism.