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Officials to consider limiting visitor numbers to islands to protect wildlife

Thai officials and environmentalists will meet to discuss ways of limiting the numbers of tourists at the country’s islands.

Concerns were raised after prominent marine scientist Thon Thamrongnawasawat took pictures of a packed Maya Bay that shocked Thais when it went viral.

His images, taken in July in the low season, showed more than 5,000 visitors crammed onto the white sands made famous in Leonardo Di Caprio hit movie ‘The Beach’.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat's holiday picture of Maya Bar in Koh Phi Phi Naional Park, which sparked concern for the state of Thailand's beaches

Thon Thamrongnawasawat’s holiday picture of Maya Bar in Koh Phi Phi Naional Park, which sparked concern for the state of Thailand’s beaches

Concerns were raised about the impact that excessive tourism is having on Thailand’s beauty spots.

Officials from the The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will meet with tourism operators to look at how to manage tourism at Andaman Sea resorts, according to the Bangkok Post.

A major concern is balancing the need to protects wildlife with the business generated for Thailand.

For example, Thon estimates that Maya Bay receives around 1.6million baht a day from visitors.

Earlier this year, Koh Tachai was closed indefinitely to tourists  in order to let the ecosystem recover.

This was followed by the announcements that Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nai would be shut off to all visitors.

If Thailand wants to preserve its marine life, expect similar announcements in the future that will see more of its beautiful islands closed to visitors.

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