Thailand Closing Popular Island to Tourists
A popular island for tourists to visit in Thailand is closing because extensive damage to the island brought about by tourists. The island Koh Tachai, as many others that are off the coast of mainland Thailand, offers beautiful beaches and wonderful reefs for divers and snorkelers. The government of Thailand announced that it will close to island off to tourists indefinitely as they attempt to protect it from extensive harm that tourists have caused. The tourism has even caused damage to a rare blue coral that exists off the island.
According to the New York Times:
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is closing the beaches, the reef and a tourist area on the island “to solve the environmental and natural resources impact which is caused by tourism,” according to an announcement on the department’s website. The order was issued on May 10.
The decision means that Koh Tachai, which stopped receiving visitors on Sunday, will not reopen as is customary in October.
During the tourist season, hundreds of visitors congregate daily on a beach that by government standards should accommodate only 70. Recent video of the island on Thai television showed the beach swarming with tourists, with the tour boats that brought them lined up along the shore. The island is designated as a “primitive zone,” not a park, according to the parks department’s announcement.
Koh Tachai is part of Mu Koh Similan National Park, about 45 miles off Thailand’s southwest coast. The park is normally closed to tourists from mid-May to mid-October because of safety concerns during the monsoon season.
It’s a shame that the growth of tourism can have such a negative impact on such naturally beautiful sights. This seems to be more due to overcrowding than disrespectful tourists bringing harm to the natural environment. However, it’s still always important to keep in mind the natural habitats and beauty that exists at tourist spots like this and to take care of them!