From October 15th onwards, Koh Tachai island in the Similan National Park will be closed to tourists indefinitely.
Tunya Netithammakul, director general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, said that “overcrowding” had caused “the degradation of natural resources and the environment”.
The island lies off the West coast of Thailand, close to the popular tourist hub of Phuket, and offers some of the best diving in Thailand in the Similan Islands.
It aims to close in order to allow rehabilitation of the island ecosystem before the damage is ‘beyond repair’.
Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Assistant Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of the Faculty of Fisheries of Kasetsart University, said: “In fact, Koh Tachai is preserved as a primitive zone, not a tourist site. A beach on the island can hold up to 70 people. But sometimes the number of tourists was well over 1,000 on the beach, which was already crowded with food stalls and tour boats. This caused the island to quickly deteriorate. If it’s not closed now, we’ll lose Koh Tachai permanently.”
— MN (@MNyman_COI) May 17, 2016
— Nancy Gordos (@nancygordos) May 17, 2016