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No confirmation on whether January 1 re-opening of Maya Bay can go ahead

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/8mr

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says it’s still waiting to hear from the Natural Resources and Environment Minister if the re-opening of Maya Bay can go ahead. The hugely popular tourist draw was expected to re-open from January 1 and Damras Phoprasit from the DNP says he’s already reassured Minister Varawut Silpa-archa that the newly-constructed pier is ready.

The pier, built at Loh Samah Bay, will be the main arrival point for tourists visiting Maya Bay, the famed location of the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach. According to a Thai PBS World report, the Environment and Natural Resources Parliamentary Committee had received word from the contractor working on the pier’s construction, indicating that it might not be ready in time for the January 1 deadline. The committee subsequently stated that it might ask Varawut to delay the re-opening.

Thai PBS World reports that Damras says he’ll accept whatever decision the minister makes, but points out that re-opening Maya Bay would significantly boost the local economy and tourism to the region. Local tourism operators are in agreement and have voiced their opposition to any delay to Maya Bay’s re-opening. Tourism businesses in the region say people are anxious to return to the beauty spot, having waited 3 and a half years for it to re-open.

Maya Bay was closed in 2018 to allow for the rehabilitation of its coral reefs and marine life, which had been significantly damaged by out-of-control tourist numbers. Local officials say that since its closure, things have improved significantly, with coral reefs recovering and black-tipped reef sharks returning to the bay. Once it does re-open, tourist numbers will be capped at 300 per round and opening hours limited to between 10am and 4pm.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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