Maya Bay will reopen to visitors on the 1st January 2022, Thailand’s Department of National Parks has confirmed.
Maya Bay will remain closed until June 2021. The Department of National Parks will then review the Bays recovery on a three monthly basis there after. When it does re-open there will be an electronic ticketing system to ensure daily visitor numbers are restricted to around 1,200 people per day which will be divided into four time blocks.
The Closure of Maya Bay
One of the best examples of the importance of ecotourism is Maya Bay, Thailand. The area has recently been closed to all tourism for the first time in history. This is the result of the destruction resulting from too much tourism. Maya Bay needs enough time to recuperate from the damage. At first, the closure was for an indefinite period of time. The potential reopening of the area is now the middle of the year 2021. The basic definition of a tourist is the guest of another country. This means tourists should always try to leave any destination in the same condition as when they arrived.
Instead, tourists littered Maya Bay with cigarette butts, cups and plastic bottles. Thai National Parks often provide areas with a break for four months. This gives the area the time necessary to recover from tourism. When Maya Bay was at its height of performance, between 4,000 and 6,0000 visitors were received every day. There were also approximately 200 boats every day. This number may appear fairly small until all of the trash the tourists left behind is taken into consideration. This was simply more than the fragile marine life in the area were able to survive.
The (DNP) Department of National Parks in Thailand is the governmental body responsible for the closure of Maya Bay. The DNP has stated the area will stay closed until all of the natural resources have had enough time to go back to normal. Prior to the closure of Maya Bay, the estimate was a potential 2.5 million tourists for 2018 alone. Marine biologists conducted studies to determine exactly where the damage had occurred. The sea life was down to a fraction of the original population with significant pieces of the coral reef gone. Years may be required for the area to have the rich marine life of the past once again.
The Ways Tourists Visited Maya Bay During the Past
Speed boats were one of the most frequently used forms of travel for tourists visiting Maya Bay, Thailand. Prior to the closure of Maya Bay to enable ecological recovery, tremendous numbers of tourists visited in boats. Speedboats were one of the most frequently chosen methods of travel. This was generally followed by a lengthy ride on a tail boat. There were a lot of tours available leaving from Koh Phi Islands. Maya Bay could also be accessed from Krabi and Phuket.
The reason so many visitors came to Maya Bay is that it is one of the most beautiful areas in Thailand. There were even early bird tours available prior to the closure so tourists could enjoy the pristine and tranquil beauty of Maya Bay before thousands of visitors clogged the sands surrounding the bay.
The Specifics of Maya Bay
The Department of National Parks made the decision to extend the closure of Maya Bay for an additional two years. The area is currently scheduled to reopen in 2021. This decision was not made until the results of a trial closure beginning during the summer of last year were considered. The results showed an ecological recovery was occurring. There are other beaches and islands found in the national park that are remaining open for the tourists. Maya Bay is only fifteen metres in width and 250 metres in length. The popularity of the small bay reached epic proportions after the release of a movie called The Beach.
The Beach was a Hollywood flick released nineteen years ago. Leonardo DiCaprio was the star of the film with certain scenes filmed in Maya Bay. During the height of its fame, 5,000 tourists visited Maya Bay. Assistant Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat is a member of the committee for the national park and a marine biologist at Kasetsart University. He stated he felt extending the closure was necessary because more time was required for the protection of the environment by the department. Additional development has been scheduled including a dock for visitor’s boats, a residence for the officials, a walking board and toilets.
Prior to the opening of Maya Bay, an e-ticket system will be in place. During peak season, the number of tourists per day will have a limit of 2,400. There is a good chance time limits will be enforced during the peak season as well. The National Park will introduce an online booking system as a pilot project. The intentions are to limit the number of tourists to help decrease corruption. All of the fees paid for entry will go directly to the state coffers. Unfortunately, there has been another development. The body of a dead female dugong was found by the Department of Coastal and Marine Resources.
This occurred in Trang on Koh Libong. The waters surrounding this area are inhabited by this marine animal. According to the initial autopsy requested by the department, the cause of death was a respiratory system failure. There are approximately 210 dugongs with habitats in the area. The majority live in the Andaman off the coastline of Trang. The number has increased from 169 during 2017. The increasing population is due to the cooperation between the local communities and the officials. This includes banning habitats. This is a type of damaging fish gear shown to cause issues with the known habitats.
The Beauty of Maya Bay in the Past
Maya Bay is filled with soft golden sands and majestic limestone cliffs. The natural beauty of the shimmering sands and crystal waters were shown to perfection in The Beach. As the years passed, the popularity of Maya Bay continued to increase. An enormous influx of tourists was expected for 2018. Prior to the closure of the area halfway into the year, over one million more travelers were expected than during the previous year. Just the idea that a place like this could be closed should serve as a critical reminder regarding the importance of protecting places like this all over the world.
Prior to the closure, Maya Bay was absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, tourism has left unpleasant effects behind. A lot of tourists came to the shores of this lovely bay to see a true paradise. They simply took a boat once arriving at Koh Phi Phi Don Island. The view when the boat arrived was more stunning than any pictures could possibly convey. The waters were pristine and clear, surrounded by golden sands. Long before it became apparent on the surface, a negative impact was occurring due to all of the visitors.
Anyone watching the sheer number of boats pulling up may have wondered if any damage was being caused to this beautiful paradise. Thousands and thousands of tourists were coming to the shores of this lovely area every single day. Even early in the morning, crowds of tourists could be observed descending in this area. A time passed, the beauty of the bay began to fade due to the impact of too much tourism.
The Impact on Phi Phi Island
Due to a large number of tourists visiting this island, the monkeys started coming to the beach because they knew the visitors would feed them. The impact of over-tourism negatively impacted this island as well. The saddest part of all is Maya Bay is not the only place being negatively affected due to human interaction. An early bird tour is offered from Phi Phi Don. Monkey Beach is one of the most frequently travelled destinations. This area is exactly what the name implies. This is also where the monkeys are now dependent on people for survival because they have become accustomed to being fed by tourists.
The natural habitat of the monkeys should not be strewn with rubbish. The monkeys have become so accustomed to plastic water bottles they are able to drink from them with no problems. Just as in the case of Maya Bay, the visitors made no attempt to ensure the natural beauty of the island was not disturbed.
The Importance of Learning From the Closure of Maya Bay in Thailand
Maya Bay was once a gorgeous place for tourists to visit. Unfortunately, proper care was not taken to ensure the area was not severely damaged. There are a lot of reasons to make certain the environment should be a key concern whenever travelling in addition to monkeys unable to forage for food naturally or the trash on the beaches of Maya Bay. If all of the most beautiful and inspirational places on the planet are damaged due to tourism, the marine and wildlife will have to relocate or they will die. This means the generations of the future will never be able to experience this type of beauty.
Maya Bay was declining so rapidly, there may not have been anything left for the very next generation to enjoy. Visitors should feel nothing but disgust when they leave any natural habitat littered with trash among the waters and the sands. The desire of the visitors should be to leave the area even better than the way it was when they arrived. This would make a positive impact so desperately needed. These types of places should be available for many others to see and experience as opposed to being taken for granted. If this behaviour is allowed to continue, one day there will not be anything left for anyone to enjoy.