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Hands off Maya Bay

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Hands off Maya Bay | The Thaiger

In one corner, marine scientists and biologists who are urging the government to keep Maya Bay closed as it struggles to rehabilitate following years of tourism abuse. In the other, local tour operators who say that the region’s main money-spinner has been taken away from them affecting their pockets and the many people they employ.

Meanwhile Maya Bay is slowly recovering without the visit of 5,000 tourists and boats every day.

Marine ecologists are asking the tourism sector to desist from pressuring authorities for an early reopening of the world-renowned Maya Bay to help ensure a proper rehabilitation process.

But local tour operators, affected by the closure, will meet tomorrow to discuss their next move as the peak tourism season draws near. The pressure on authorities to re-open the tourist magnet is intense.

On September 28, the National Parks Department issued an order for indefinite closure of Maya Bay in order to allow more time for damaged coral reefs to recover.

Experts say the four-month closure of Maya Bay was insufficient for rehabilitation due to the popular site’s fragile ecosystem.

Assistant Professor Datchanee Emphandhu of the Forestry Faculty of Kasetsart University, said Maya was like a seriously ill patient who needs more time to recover. Rushing to reopen the place would result in the likely collapse of its ecosystem.

“The damage could be irreversible.”

She was speaking in response to a call by tour companies in the area to reopen the destination once the tourism industry enters the high season later this year.

On September 28, an official announcement was made in the Royal Gazette about the indefinite closure of Maya Bay from October 1, after the previous closure order was supposed to end on September 30.

One of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations, made popular by the Hollywood movie “The Beach”, Maya Bay’s limited 30-rai (4.8 hectares) area, attracts about 5,000 tourists per day on average, or between 1.5-2 million visitors per year.

The National Parks Department, after holding consultations with its advisers and marine experts, said earlier that Maya Bay had been seriously environmentally degraded because of overcrowding.

The department has allowed boats to bring tourists to watch Maya only from a distance while officials work on rehabilitating the area and its fragile ecosystem, including the damaged coral reefs that need more time to regrow.

Marine ecologist, Sak-anan Plathong, from Prince of Songkla University, suggested that the department ensure protection of the fragile ecosystem at Maya Bay and prevent further disturbance to the fragile beach forests inside the nearby island.

“An elevated boardwalk over the fragile sand and forests should be built to help reduce pressure on the ecosystem. If there is going to be a reopening of the beach, it should be delayed beyond the high tourist season, maybe a month or two after the season.”

“In addition, the beach should be given one or two days’ break per week to allow natural replenishment of sand on the beach.”

The number of visitors, he added, should also be restricted.

Assistant Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat posted on Facebook that the front of the bay should be off limits forever to allow corals to rehabilitate and regrow otherwise all the efforts invested now would become useless.

National Parks Office chief Songtham Suksawang said the department wishes to see the bay’s ecosystem fully rehabilitated before it decides to reopen the bay to tourists again.\

The department is in the process of procuring projects to build a boardwalk and a new floating pier at the back of the island so that coral reefs at the front of the beach will not be disturbed. The department has also commissioned four universities to conduct research on the appropriate number of tourists who should be allowed to visit six popular beach destinations in Thailand: Samet islands in Rayong province; Surin, Similan and Tapoo islands in Phang Nga province; Chang island in Trat province; and Lanta island in Krabi.

Hands off Maya Bay | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Krabi

Four metre, 15 kilogram king cobra found in a Krabi village

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Four metre, 15 kilogram king cobra found in a Krabi village | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Kapook.com

On October 13, Krabi Pitak Pracha Foundation, a local volunteer rescue team, received a report requiring (probably screaming) for help from a house project security guard to help catch a ‘big snake’ that lived inside the drain of the village.

Kapook reports that the rescue team arrived at the village where the security guard guided them to the drain. They even prayed with the land spirit to bless them on the job ahead of them before entering inside the drain.

They explained that it was difficult and dangerous job, had to be very careful and move fast. They finally found the snake and it took about an hour to catch the giant reptile. The rescue team said that the snake is actually a king cobra that was four-metres long and weighed 15 kilograms.

Meanwhile, the village security guard said that the king cobra had lived inside the village drain for a while and sometimes came up above ground and the village’s public area,s which frightened the residents, so he had to reach out to the rescue team for help.

SOURCE: Kapook.com

Four metre, 15 kilogram king cobra found in a Krabi village | News by The Thaiger Four metre, 15 kilogram king cobra found in a Krabi village | News by The Thaiger Four metre, 15 kilogram king cobra found in a Krabi village | News by The Thaiger

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Environment

Thailand’s Maya Bay recovering well but no date set for re-opening

May Taylor

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Thailand’s Maya Bay recovering well but no date set for re-opening | The Thaiger

Renowned marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat says Koh Phi Phi’s Maya Bay is showing good signs of recovery, having been closed to visitors for over a year now.

“After being closed for many months to facilitate natural restoration, the beach’s green forests have started to recover and coral reefs in the bay area have also been showing recovery and these are encouraging signs.”

A report in The Nation says Maya Bay’s coral reefs and ecosystems have been revived, with photos from the marine national park operation centre depicting a shark swimming in clear water, surrounded by colourful coral reefs.

Thailand's Maya Bay recovering well but no date set for re-opening | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thon Thamrongnawasawat and the Marine National Park Operation Centre

A date has not yet been confirmed for Maya Bay to re-open to visitors, and while Thon has praised the work of all parties involved in the bay’s rehabilitation, floating garbage remains a threat to coral reefs. However, he adds that officials and volunteers continue to monitor the reefs and remove debris.

Plans are afoot for a visitor walking trail to ensure trees are not damaged, along with a new boat pier and a ticket booking system with a strict limit on numbers.

Writing on Facebook, Thon refers to the growth of diversified coral reefs, blacktip reef sharks swimming freely, and beach forests turning green.

“This is the mission for the future to ensure that later generations would not condemn us (for destroying nature)”.

While refusing to speculate on when the bay might re-open, he hints that it won’t be far away, saying “new hope is approaching”.

Although excited about the improvements, some social media users suggest that Maya Bay should remain closed for a few more years, or forever. The demands from local tourism bodies make the former much more likely than the latter.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Krabi

‘Krabi Premium’ launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand

The Thaiger

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‘Krabi Premium’ launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Sunset Cruise at Nam Mao Bay, Krabi – TAT

The Tourism Authority of Thailand Krabi Office is launching its ‘Krabi Premium’ marketing concept aimed at delivering ‘the best of the best’ of the southern Thai province.

The TAT says it will offer “meaningful experiences to tourists” to hopefully stimulate spending and generate additional revenue for local communities in the province. The initiative also aims to promote responsible tourism while encouraging the exchange of ideas between the locals, tourists and tourism operators on how to promote the concept both locally and to domestic and international tourists.

Apichai Aranyig, Director of the TAT Krabi Office, said the ‘Krabi Premium’ concept started off as a project to entice more domestic tourists, both Thai and expatriates living in Thailand, to Krabi through the launch of the ‘We are Krabi’ promotion.

“The concept is now expanding to cover all potential markets. Through partnerships with tour operators and hotels, international tourists will know more of what can be experienced in Krabi while Thai tourists will know they are welcomed all-year round. This averts misconceptions that hotels and tourism operators in Krabi only want Thai tourists during the low season,”

“The concept is also meant to encourage hotels, tourism operators and Krabi locals to be good hosts and treat tourists like family members coming for a visit. By viewing tourists this way, they will want to make sure all visitors have memorable experiences.”

According to Mr. Apichai, the concept is not about selling high-end or expensive products, but is focusing on promoting experiences based on the treasures of ‘Krabi Premium: Emerald of the Andaman’ whereby emerald represents lush green forests, mountains and islands as well as the turquoise of the sea.

‘Krabi Premium’ launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Hin Ha Luk Island, or Ha Island or Tuk Narima Island, is the group of five islands in Mu Ko Lanta National Marine Park, Krabi – TAT

The line-up for Krabi Premium includes…

Attractions: Krabi boasts 154 islands plus three national parks including Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park as well as five unique local communities.

Accommodation: Krabi is home to multiple world-class hotels, and more importantly, many hotels in Krabi are known for their eco-friendly operations.

Thai food: this category lists authentic Krabi dishes and where to find them plus top restaurants and eateries.

“Krabi is a cultural melting pot where people of different ethnic origins and beliefs co-exist in harmony. Tourists – domestic and international – can learn more about Krabi’s history while experiencing the provincial way of life at the five local communities who are ready to welcome visitors with open arms.”

In addition, Krabi is known for its environment-friendly, sustainable tourism values and is seen as a model ecotourism destination. In 2018, Krabi received ‘Global Low-Carbon Ecological Scenic Spot’ honours at the 2018 Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements and Sustainable Cities award ceremony, UNESCAP.

Krabi has also championed its campaign for ‘no single-use plastic, no foam containers’ for over a year. This was practiced at several events including at the recent Krabi Naga Fest where vendors opted against single-use plastics while using solar energy or biodiesel fuels for electrical generation.

SOURCE: Tourism Authority of Thailand

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