Exceeding popularity of Thailand’s Maya Bay has cost it a shut-down. Located on the island of Phi Phi Leh, the bay gained recognition through the film The Beach. The film was released in 2000 and starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Admiration for the actor soared the number of visiting tourists but plummeted the Island’s coral production. Corals were depleting rapidly due to the tourist’s wave and about 10,000 corals were planted in the Maya Bay last year. However, the recent heat wave rose temperatures to about 32˚C (90˚F), which is not conducive for the newly planted corals.
The island has been closed to tourists since June 2018. The closure accelerated a rejuvenation program for the destroyed corals. However, the restored corals are experiencing bleaching. In the wake of the events, the island has extended the close-down for tourists for two more years. The authorities will gain time to restore ecological sources. The beach was to reopen in October after its closure in June, but the extension in order to rehabilitate has been welcomed by conservationists.
The idea of closure came after the Government of Philippines took the decision of shutting down another tourist hot-spot, Boracay. Over environmental concerns, the government authorities had announced the closure to protect the ocean’s blue waters. Maya Bay, however, houses around 17,000 people whose existence depends on the tourist-generated revenue. Reports allege that boats that traverse daily to the island have to halt 300 meters away from the island shores. In order to help the local tourist economy to survive, the head of the local tourism association has reported of public hearings, “so that local people can earn a living”, he said in a statement.