Idyllic bay from DiCaprio film shuts indefinitely


A beauty spot made famous by a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio has been closed indefinitely to protect it from tourists.

The Beach, released in 2000, was filmed at Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island in the Andaman Sea.

But officials say the area needs time for its ecosystem to recover following years of visitors travelling there in the wake of The Beach's success.

It was initially closed on 1 June for four months, but experts now say that was not long enough.

With its small stretch of white sand, crystal clear water and surrounding cliffs, the bay is now one of the most recognisable beaches in the world.

Image: Leonardo DiCaprio starred in the film, released in 2000

For the past 18 years, up to 6,000 visitors have been making the trip to see it every day, getting there by boat from the nearby resorts of Phi Phi, Phuket and Krabi.

But its popularity has taken its toll on the environment, with reports that up to 80% of the coral in the bay has died.

Officials say the area's reefs need plenty of time to recover if the area is to survive.

"Four months' closure was not enough," said Songtham Sukswang, the director of Thailand's Office of National Parks.

"We need at least a year or even up to two years or maybe more for the environment to recover – this includes the coral reefs, mangrove and the beach."

More from Sky Ocean Rescue

Tourism makes up about 12% of Thailand's economy, but there is growing concern about the country's ability to manage its ever-increasing number of visitors.

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Original Article


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