Rehabilitation plan set for Maya Bay
National park authorities Tuesday announced they have come up with a rehabilitation plan for famed Maya Bay in Krabi, which is to close on June 1 to allow it a brief respite from tourists.
They said Maya Bay needed an enforced break from day-trippers who have flocked there since it was featured in the 2000 film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Since then about 4,000 visitors have turned up on its shores on a daily basis.
Last year 1.2 million foreign tourists and nearly 58,500 Thai people went to the beach, according to Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation figures.
So far this year there has been nearly 799,000 foreign visitors to the beach.
When Maya Bay reopens, it will have a new daily limit of 2,000 tourists and boats will no longer be allowed to cross the shallow reef.
Department chief, Thanya Nethithammakul, Tuesday said the authorities stand ready to rehabilitate this major and scenic tourist attraction during its four-month break that will last from June 1 to Sept 30.
Maya Bay is part of the Noppharatthara-Beach Phi Phi Island National Park that is to be shut down during the same period.
Under the rehabilitation plan, he said basic public infrastructure systems will be improved.
Mr Thanya said a super-fine graded plastic pier for mooring will be built at Lo Sama Beach, located behind Maya Bay.
He said when Maya Bay reopens, tourist boats will not be allowed to dock in the bay to protect a coral reef. A long boardwalk will be built from the new pier to Maya Bay.
"All visitors must buy an e-ticket before heading to the island, which will be a significant tool in controlling tourist numbers," Mr Thanya said.
Experts from various agencies will work to rehabilitate the coral reef, some of which has deteriorated due to heavy tourism activity, he said.
"Maya Bay will be a pilot project for sustainable development at marine sites after it reopens. Everything will be managed based on sustainable practices."
He said increasing the the cost of visiting Maya Bay and other main marine sites is a possible way to limit the number of tourists to these sites.
Mr Thanya said the department will discuss the issue with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.