Asia

Thai beach from Leonardo DiCaprio film to close temporarily

This file photo dated 14 January 1999 shows a general view of Maya Bay, Thailand, the day before the start of shooting for the film The Beach Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A photo of Maya Beach in 1999, before it was made famous by The Beach

Authorities in Thailand have ordered the temporary closure of the beach made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie The Beach.

Maya Beach, on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, will be closed for four months from June.

According to officials, the closure is a bid to halt environmental damage caused by tourists.

The closure will allow for the recovery of the island's battered coral reefs and sea life.

According to local news outlet the Bangkok Post, all marine parks in Thailand are closed from May to October, during the country's rainy season. The closure also allows for marine wildlife to recover from the effects of mass tourism.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Much of Maya Beach has been taken over by tourists

However, Maya Bay has previously remained open all year round because of tourist demand.

"Islands have very fragile ecosystems that simply cannot handle so many people, pollution from boats and beachfront hotels," Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine expert, told news agency Reuters.

"Sometimes, a complete closure is the only way for nature to heal."

Mr Thon added that more than three-quarters of Thailand's coral reefs had been damaged by rising sea temperatures and unchecked tourism.

Thailand's National Parks and Wildlife Department will set a daily limit of 2,000 tourists when Maya Beach reopens, and boats will no longer be allowed to anchor there, according to the Associated Press.

More than 35 million tourists visited Thailand last year.

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