One of the world's most famous beaches is set to close to tourists from this summer as authorities attempt to reverse damage done to the region's marine life. Maya Bay on the island of Koh Phi Phi Ley in Thailand became famous as one of the main filming locations in Leonardo DiCaprio's movie The Beach, and has attracted visitors in their droves ever since.
The closure will take place during the island's low season, from June to September, in the hope of giving its coral reef chance to recover from the boats filled with tourists that arrive each day. It marks the first time tourists have ever been banned from visiting Maya Bay, and will no doubt disappoint holidaymakers who already have trips booked to Thailand over the summer months.
Maya Bay is set to close to tourists this summer
Maya Bay gets up to 5,000 visitors every day, many of whom arrive by boat from nearby Koh Phi Phi Don or Phuket. The Beach, released in 2000, is believed to have driven a lot of tourism to the island, as fans hope to see the pristine and untouched beach that Leonardo's character ends up making his home.
However, the increase in visitors means that Maya Bay is no longer at its best, with plastic pollution, damage to the coral reefs and overcrowding cited among its problems.
It was a filming location in Leonardo DiCaprio's movie The Beach
Tourism is huge in Thailand, and is estimated to account for 18 per cent of the country's GDP. Visitor numbers have tripled since 2004, with more than 35 million arrivals in 2017. Among the celebrity fans of the country are Ronan Keating and his wife Storm, who are currently holidaying in Phuket with their son Cooper. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jessica Alba and the Kardashians have also holidayed in the country in the past couple of years.