By Janine Puhak
Published October 03, 2018
The party is officially over for one Thai bay made famous by the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio flick “The Beach,” as the beach has been closed indefinitely due to environmental concerns over extreme tourism.
Thai officials announced Monday that Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island in the Andaman Sea will remain shuttered to visitors following a four-month temporary closure that began June 1, in an attempt to save the local coral reefs, Reuters reported.
“Four months’ closure was not enough. We need at least a year or even up to two years or maybe more for the environment to recover — this include the coral reefs, mangrove and the beach,” Songtham Sukswang, the director of the Office of National Parks, told the outlet.
More than 35 million tourists visited Thailand last year, compared to around 10 million when "The Beach" premiered in 2000, as per the Associated Press.
According to The Guardian, over 200 boats were anchoring on the island’s shore per day — leaving tons of litter in their wake. To date, roughly 80 percent of the coral around Maya Bay is estimated to be destroyed.
“It’s very difficult to remedy and rehabilitate because its beach was completely destroyed, as well as the plants which cover it,” Sukswang told The Guardian, adding that a realistic environmental recovery was “impossible” to expect during the four-month timeframe.
Thai authorities had previously been hesitant to close Maya Bay for an indefinite period, as the area generates over $12.3 million in revenue a year, according to the outlet.