Push to reopen Maya Bay
Maya Bay, one of the most popular tourist attractions on Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands in Krabi province, has been closed to visitors since mid-2018, due to over-tourism. The province is now pushing for its reopening.
Permanent-Secretary of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Jatuporn Burutpat, explained that the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation ordered the closure of Maya Bay for rehabilitation and improvement of the infrastructure, to enable the welcoming of tourists without affecting its environment.
He explained that, before the closure, Maya Bay used to welcome a lot of tourists, along with many boats, which had major effects on its natural environment. Therefore, all the improvements must be completed before considering reopening, including limiting the number of tourists.
At the same time, Prayoon Pongpan, the head of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park in the province, said that improvements to the pier are now 70% complete, and are expected to be fully completed by this May. Other facilities, such as boardwalks and public bathrooms, are also 70% complete.
Regarding the reopening of Maya Bay, Prayoon said that the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Woravuth Silpa-archa, will make that decision. He said he personally thinks that Maya Bay’s natural resources have returned to a very good condition since its closure to tourists. Therefore, limiting the number of tourists must be strictly enforced.
The closure of the bay did not have a huge effect on the number of tourists visiting Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park. In 2018, 1.8 million tourists were recorded, a slight decrease from the 1.9 million the year before.