Thailand moves to reopen Koh Tachai for tourist season

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is set to reopen Thailand’s world-renowned scenic island of Koh Tachai, located off the coast of Phang Nga province, after closing the island in May of this year to allow for the restoration of natural resources.

DNP Director-General Tanya Netithammakul said the department will speak with local residents and stakeholders to come to an agreement on whether tourist activity should resume this year or in 2017.

According to the department head, the ban on tourist activities on Koh Tachai, which has lasted five months so far, has allowed for an 80 to 90-percent recovery of wildlife and coral reefs.

Koh Tachai became overcrowded with both Thai and foreign tourists in the past few years. Last year, photos of the coral reef cemetery at the popular island went viral and raised concerns with the public.

If the ban is lifted, the number of visitors entering the island will be limited to ensure a manageable level of waste, as well as to reduce the risk of damage to natural resources. Tanya said the tourist season begins on Oct. 15.

The DNP is also looking to temporarily shut down Maya Bay on Phi Phi island of Krabi province to rehabilitate its natural resources, while diverting tourism to other islands, National News Bureau of Thailand reported.

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