The secluded bay on Phi Phi Leh Island in Thailand, made famous in the Leonardo Dicaprio film The Beach, is to close due to over-tourism ruining the marine life in its waters.

Maya Bay has been a highly popular destination for tourists attracted to the pristine white beaches and crystal-clear waters, selected for the location of Danny Boyle’s 2000 movie The Beach, an adaptation of Alex Garland’s cult novel.

However, the island has paid a heavy price due to the sheer numbers of tourists, with the sea life and coral said to be close to dying off altogether, with the numerous boats transporting visitors churning up sand and killing coral at a rapid rate.

Leonardo DiCaprioLeonardo DiCaprio starred in 'The Beach'

As a result, the island will be completely closed off to tourists for four months from tomorrow (Saturday June 2nd) – more stringent conditions than were initially mooted back in March – in order for the waters and their inhabitants to replenish and recover.

Upon re-opening, visiting numbers will be capped at a daily limit of 2,000 tourists – around half of the current number – and boats will be forced to dock on the other side of the bay. Additionally, this four-month complete ban on tourism will be enforced at around the same time every single year from now.

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Thailand is a tourism-based economy, and 35 million international visitors came to the country last year, representing a five-fold increase in a little over 20 years. Authorities on the island are now being forced to strike a balance between that source of income and keeping the country’s natural beauty preserved and sustained.

Many Thai national parks are closed annually from mid-May to mid-October because of monsoon season, but Maya Bay has been permanently open and heavily popular for 19 years, ever since Boyle’s film crew set foot there to film The Beach in 1999.

“I tried to push this campaign for many, many years, but you know in Thailand we are a tourism industry country and we need a lot of money, so before not so many people listened,” Thon Thamrongnawasawat, part of the country’s governmental committee on development and the environment.

“It should have been done ten years ago, but at least it has been done.”

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