Thai authorities have closed a popular tourist island to all visitors for an indefinite period, starting Oct. 15, to prevent its environmental degradation.

The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday that authorities have declared Koh Tachai island in the Similan Islands National Park off Phangnga province off limits to tourists.

Tunya Netithammakul, director general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, told the newspaper that "thanks to its beauty" Koh Tachai has become a popular site for both Thai and foreign tourists, resulting in "overcrowding and the degradation of natural resources and the environment." He says the closure will allow the rehabilitation of the island's environment "before the damage is beyond repair."

All marine national parks are closed from mid-May to mid-October during the monsoon season, but Koh Tachai will remain closed indefinitely.