Thai officials may ban boats from bay where 'The Beach' was set to protect reef

A picturesque stretch of coastline made famous in the 2000 movie "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio may be facing new restrictions due to the constant influx of tourists.

Officials in Thailand are considering banning tourist boats from entering Maya Bay between June and September to protect the reef, where a majority of the coral has died, Sky News reported.

The small stretch of sand on the island of Koh Phi Phi Le draws up to 5,000 people a day, who arrive on hundreds of boats that damage coral.

"They throw full on trash bags off the boats here sometimes; they bring the boats right in regardless if the boats are knocking corals and destroying everything," tour guide Adam Gardener told Sky News. "There's just not a lot of respect for Koh Phi Phi anymore."

U.S. actor Leonardo DiCaprio is photographed on a Phuket resort island in southern Thailand January 30. Producers of the controversial film "The Beach" said on Wednesday they had begun restoring the Thai national park location after completing filming there, and would leave it "better than they found it". The Hollywood production of "The Beach", starring DiCaprio, faced stiff opposition from environmentalists and some local groups over the making of the film on the unspoilt Phi Phi Leh island. - PBEAHULXCAC

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is photographed on a Phuket resort island in southern Thailand January 30, 1999.  (Reuters)

Visits to the island exploded after the 2000 movie "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio was set on the pristine white sands and crystal waters. Miss Universe contestants also were photographed in the area in 2005 when the competition was held in Bangkok.

Miss Universe 2005 contestants (L-R) Michelle Guy of Australia, Adriana Tarud of Colombia, Natalie Glebova of Canada, Atetegeb Tetsaye of Ethiopia, Rozanne Diasz of Sri Lanka and Debby Dewaele of Belgium pose for photos while visiting Phi Phi Leh island's Maya Bay May 19, 2005. Miss Universe contestants toured Phuket and Phi Phi Leh during their visit to the Thai-resort islands. The Miss Universe 2005 pageant will take place in Bangkok on May 31, 2005. REUTERS/Adrees Latif  AL/TZ - RP6DRMWKUKAB

Miss Universe 2005 contestants (L-R) Michelle Guy of Australia, Adriana Tarud of Colombia, Natalie Glebova of Canada, Atetegeb Tetsaye of Ethiopia, Rozanne Diasz of Sri Lanka and Debby Dewaele of Belgium pose for photos while visiting Phi Phi Leh island's Maya Bay May 19, 2005.  (REUTERS/Adrees Latif AL/TZ)

More than 2 million people visited last year, according to Sky News, paying $12 a person and generating millions of dollars. The popularity has taken a toll on the island's coral, with up to 80 percent lost over the last 18 years.

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Conservation groups have said that some coral has been destroyed by boats dropping anchors or people standing on it, in addition to suntan lotion and gasoline in the water.

The president of the island's tourist association, Watrapol Jantharo, told Sky News the beach won't be totally closed, and that tourists will still be able to access it from the other side of the island. Marine experts from Bangkok are to visit Maya Bay in the coming days before a final decision is announced.

A local conservationist said he supported the plan to restrict access, but was concerned the alternative plan could damage the environment at the other end of the island.

"My concern is with the amount of boats in Maya Bay right now is whether there's going to be enough room in this particular bay for that many boats," Andrew Hewett said.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed