By Pratch Rujivcanarom
After accompanying National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) director-general Thanya Netithammakun on an official inspection of the environmental rehabilitation efforts at Maya Bay in Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, prominent marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat revealed in his Facebook that the mission to restore the ecosystems of Maya Bay had gone as planned and the two-year environmental restoration of Maya Bay had entered the third and final phase.
“We have now nearly reached the goal to revive Maya Bay’s pristine nature. The DNP is finalising the tourism management plan at this famous nature attraction spot, calculating the appropriate number of visitors in order to prevent over-tourism, and also setting out measures to ensure the fragile ecosystems of the bay will be protected from the impacts of tourism,” Thon said.
He said that after the DNP closed Maya Bay to visitors for 10 months, the first phase of environmental restoration mission had allowed nature to heal the devastated ecosystems damaged by prolonged intensive tourism activities. The master plan to reform tourism management at Maya Bay was drawn up in the second phase; in the third and final phase, the DNP will have to implement the plans.
“The first and foremost issue is to determine and implement the visitor quota for Maya Bay,” he said.
“From now on, tourists will have to book their seats in advance for limited standardised day tours to Maya Bay.
File photo: Maya bay // EPA-EFE PHOTO
Individual visitors will not be allowed to visit the bay on their own; each tour to the bay will have no more than 300 people per trip and each trip will be of 60 minutes duration around Maya Bay.”
Although he said the daily visitor quota for Maya Bay was yet to be finalised, both Thon and DNP executives insisted that mass tourism would not be allowed again at Maya Bay.
“We would like to restore the pristine nature of Maya Bay from the scars of mass tourism and preserve it as a prominent marine animal sanctuary rather than continue to exploit its beautiful nature with unsustainable tourism,” he said.