>> It was made famous by Hollywood film, The Beach. But after attracting thousands of tourists each day, Thailand's Maya Bay will, from today, close to visitors for the next four months. The closure is a bid to salvage the area's coral reefs, which had been damaged by warmer temperatures and growing numbers of tourists.
The bay was the main location for the 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio which revealed to viewers the stunning beauty of Thailand's turquoise seas and white powder beaches, and spurred many to visit. Now up to 5,000 visitors go to the bay every day, traveling by speed boat and ferry.
Its closure follows a decision by the Philippines to close its top holiday island for several months in April. Boracay Island a shot to tourists will undergo a massive cleanup. Untreated sewage, mounting rubbish and a huge surge in visitors were blamed for the closure. In Thailand tourism makes up about 12% of the economy, but there's been increasing concern about its ability to manage the rapidly growing number of visitors and the environmental impact of mass tourism.
Already this year the country banned smoking and littering at 24 beach side locations over environmental concerns, but from now until October these shores will be a lot quieter and tourists will have to find somewhere else to pose for their selfies.