- One of the most popular beaches in Thailand made famous by a Leonardo DiCaprio film will remain closed for at least another two years.
- Maya Bay, a stunning beach featuring crystal blue waters and surrounded by limestone cliffs, temporarily closed last year.
- Authorities hope the closure will help restore the area's coral reefs and bring back biodiversity destroyed by increased tourism.
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One of the most popular beaches in Thailand made famous by a Leonardo DiCaprio film is set to close for at least another two years.
Maya Bay, a stunning cove on the island of Phi Phi Leh, will remain closed until 2021, local media reported, citing the country's National Parks Department. According to the department, the goal of the closure is to prevent additional ecological destruction of the popular tourist area and give coral in the area time to repair itself.
The bay temporarily closed last year because of damage done to the site by an influx of tourists attracted to the location made famous by the 2000 film "The Beach."
According to the BBC, up to 5,000 tourists visited the bay's white shores daily, leading to mass destruction of its native coral population. Since the closure, black tip reef sharks have been spotted swimming in the bay, a positive sign of increased biodiversity.
Thailand's national park service said it will manage travel to the area and limit tourists stepping foot on the shores, local media reports suggested.
The beautiful bay, consistently ranked as one of Thailand's best beaches before its closure, features crystal blue waters and is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a professor at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, said 80% of Thailands coral reefs have been destroyed because of increased human travel and beachfront hotels popping up all over the country. Thamrongnawasawat told the Bangkok Post in 2016 that he was left speechless by Maya Bay which had become overrun with tourists, posing a serious threat to the environment.
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