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Countdown to reopening – contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure

The Thaiger

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Countdown to reopening – contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | The Thaiger
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by Sawat, Five Star Thailand Tours

New plans are now being enacted which will lead to the re-opening of Maya Bay to tourism again. With a new development project in the works, it won’t be long until visitors will once again be able to visit ‘The Beach’, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. Maya Bay was shut down to tourist traffic in June of 2018 by Thailand’s Department for National Marine Parks. The Beach was initially closed to due concerns that unregulated mass-tourism was destroying the bay and the beach.

But as of now, construction plans are being put into motion in a bid to re-open the beach to tourists while preserving the hard work that has gone into the restoration project over recent years.

Thailand’s DNP has brainstormed a number of creative solutions which will allow the famous, and highly popular, Maya Bay to begin welcoming tourists as early as November 2020.

“Sustainability is at the forefront of the re-opening in order to allow the bay to continue to recover.”

The plans, which have recently been announced, will see new infrastructure built on Koh Phi Phi Leh. The new plans include a viewing platform that looks over the beach, and a new rigid pier to be built on the back-side of the beach, at Loh Samah Bay. A boardwalk will also be built which will allow tourists to move between the new pier at Loh Samah Bay and Maya Bay beach itself. To prevent further damage to the environment, tourist will be limited to the designated boardwalks when navigating the island – they won’t enter the bay by boat, they won’t walk on the beach.

Last month a development contract was awarded to improve the facilities at Maya Bay. Two projects have been commissioned and awarded to the Suchardti Karnchang Company (สุชาติการโยธาจำกัด).

The first project is called… ‘THE MAYA BAY AREA FACILITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT’ and involves construction of a rigid wooden pier at Maya Bay’s back entrance. The new pier will provide a safe area for speedboats and long-tail boats to moor. A ramp will then lead away from the soon-to-be-built pier which will extend out, into a ramp. The ramp will be a walkway, allowing access to Loh Samah Bay, in between cliffs of Koh Phi Phi Ley.

The new infrastructure will provide a more sustainable area for tour boats to park, in an essential bid to preserve the Maya Bay beach and bar area for future generations.

By utilising Loh Samah Bay as the new entry point to visit Maya Bay, the need for tour boats to enter the bay and dock on the beach will be eliminated.

Initial plans were to install a temporary floating pier, however, in order for the bridge over Loh Samah’s Cliffs to remain stable and safe, a rigid structure fixed to the sea bed is necessary.

The Maya Bay pier will provide a proper and permanent mooring spot for Koh Phi Phi tour companies in order to further preserve the coral inside the bay. The new pier is expected to have the capacity to dock a maximum of eight boats at a time. This is part of the bid to limit visitor numbers and preserve the environment.

Thailand’s Department for National Parks has invested 6,050,000 baht (around US$200,000) for the construction of the new pier. Work is about to begin and will be finished before the end of 2020, according to sources.

This 3D rendering shows the soon to be constructed rigid pier, which will be constructed at Loh Samah Bay incorporating a ramp elevating over the cliffs at Loh Samah Bay.

Boats will be able to dock on the rear of Maya Bay and tourists will be guided over the bridge, leading directly onto a new boardwalk. The boardwalk will pass through Loh Samah Bay and out onto a viewing platform at Ao Maya.

This 3D render shows designs for the new pier, set to be installed behind the bay. The new pier will make recording and limiting visitor numbers to Maya Bay, a much easier task for Thailand’s Department of National Parks. The number of boats able to stop here each day will be limited. And only pre-registered, approved and licenced tour companies will have access to use the new facilities.

The second project also awarded to Suchardti Karnchang Co., Ltd. comes at a cost of ฿11,580,000THB (375,000USD)

Countdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by The ThaigerCountdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by The ThaigerCountdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by The Thaiger

Codenamed the ‘LANDSCAPE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT’ the project will see the construction of an elevated boardwalk running right through from Loh Samah Bay, leading out onto Maya Bay beach, a large viewing platform will overlook the bay, and smaller terraces will look out over the beach, new seating areas, bathroom facilities and food and drink kiosks will be built.

This boardwalk will replace the existing infrastructure and, keeping all tourists on the designated walkways will ensure that nature in the area will not be destroyed and can continue to grow. It still remains unclear as to whether tourists will be allowed to swim in the ocean (potentially damaging corals) or have access to Maya Bay Beach.

An ideal scenario would see all tourists keeping to the boardwalks at all times, however, it is rumoured that a limited number of visitors will be allowed access onto the beach by paying an additional charge.

The new plans have been widely praised, the genius solution from the Department of National Parks should allow the beach to open again, alow their revenue to return (estimated at a whopping 35 million Thai Baht per month) and all whilst protecting the fragile beach, and maintaining preservation works.

3D rendered graphics show how the new boardwalk is predicted to look. The boardwalk will run from the pier on Loh Samah Bay all the way through the mangrove jungle before emerging at Maya Bay. Keeping tourists on the boardwalk will help to maintain the environment and will assist with the long-term preservation of the beach, while still allowing tourists to visit the famous tourist magnet.

It is unclear, and plans have not yet been revealed, on whether tourists will have full access to the beach, or if restrictions will be enforced to stay on the designated pathways and lookout points. Let’s hope it’s the former rather than the latter.

With thanks to Five Star Thailand Tours

Countdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by The ThaigerCountdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 cluster confirmed following Koh Lanta “big bike” event

Maya Taylor

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Covid-19 cluster confirmed following Koh Lanta “big bike” event | The Thaiger

A “big bike” party on Koh Lanta, in the southern province of Krabi, has resulted in a cluster of Covid-19 infections, according to officials from the Department of Disease Control. The DDC says there are currently around 10 confirmed cases and 129 people considered “at risk”.

The outbreak is linked to a patient who travelled to Koh Lanta from the Covid-19 hotspot of Samut Sakhon on December 9. He made the journey, accompanied by 2 friends, to attend the “Multistrada Thailand Meeting of Ducati Bikers” on the island on December 11. While there, he came into contact with 133 people, of whom 129 are considered “high risk” and 4 are believed to be “low risk”. Officials have already tracked all of those affected, due to the hotel having registered the details of each person attending the event.

Including the original patient, 10 cases of the virus have now been confirmed. 4 are in Krabi, 1 of whom was at the big bike event and subsequently passed the virus to his wife, daughter, and another family member. Another person infected at the event has transmitted the infection to his 2 sons in Phuket. A further 2 people have been confirmed infected in the southern province of Songkhla, due to another infected biker passing the virus to his sister.

Meanwhile, DDC officials are urging local authorities in each province to check for residents who may have attended the Koh Lanta event and inadvertently spread the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Crime

Krabi man arrested for animal abuse after allegedly killing pet dogs

Caitlin Ashworth

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Krabi man arrested for animal abuse after allegedly killing pet dogs | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

A Krabi man was arrested on animal abuse charges after he allegedly shot and killed his pet dogs. The non-profit Watchdog Thailand filed a police complaint yesterday with a statement from a witness.

Police arrested 39 year old Surasak Kongduang at his home in Krabi’s Muang district. Surasak allegedly admitted to police that he shot both his pet dogs in the head and buried them in the backyard. Officers searched his home and found 3 guns and a bow. All weapons are legal and registered, police say.

Surasak allegedly told police that his wife fled and left the dogs behind after an argument a few days prior. He allegedly told officers that his mother is old and he felt bad about leaving her to care for the dogs, adding that one dog is lame while the other is sick.

Surasak was charged with animal abuse and for unlawful discharge of a firearm.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry

Maya Taylor

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Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry | The Thaiger

Leading Thai academics are calling on the government to get a move on and help the tourism industry before it’s too late. Addressing a gathering arranged by the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion, Kiriya Kulkolkran from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Economics, pointed to the 80% drop in international tourism as a result of the Covid-19 fallout. His estimate includes the first few months of the year when there was actually a functional tourism industry in Thailand.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Kiriya says just 4% of businesses in the tourism sector say they’ve made the same amount or more than they did before Covid-19. She adds that a survey shows employees in the industry are concerned about debt accumulation and “extremely worried about the future”.

Bovorn Subsing, from Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute, has backed up the comments, saying tourism workers have seen their wages drop by 60%, while still facing the same, or higher, cost of living. The result is that most are now in debt.

Kiriya predicts the devastation could continue for over 3 years, affecting not just tourism operators but the entire supply chain, as well as new graduates and those seeking their first job. She says that until the sector recovers, the government needs to provide tailored help for businesses, singling out Phuket hotels, who are struggling to survive without foreign guests.

The islands of Phuket and Samui, plus the other ‘tourist’ islands around Thailand, are facing a particular problem as they’re mostly geared for the international tourist market. Domestic tourism, rebooted last July when the local airlines were permitted to fly again, has mostly shunned the popular tourist islands.

One worker at a Phuket hotel, 52 year old Anchisa Sirinanthasak, addressed the forum in support of a possible co-payment scheme for hotel workers. It’s understood most hotel operators are paying employees 62-75% of their normal salary, which works out at around 8,000-9,000 baht per person and is not enough to cover their costs.

Meanwhile, Manop Kaewphaka from Homenet Thailand, a non-profit that protects home-based workers, has called on the government to allow foreign tourists back into the Kingdom and to provide more support for informal workers, in the form of wage guarantees and co-payment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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