The Maya Bay in Thailand will remain closed for at least two more years

The Gulf will remain closed to tourists, a leading environmentalist who oversees the rehabilitation of coral reefs in Thailand's famous Maya Beach told the German Press Agency (dpa) For at least another two years.

The pristine beach on the southern island of Koh Phi Phi, known as the "beach" in 2000, was closed for the first time in June after most of its coral reefs were found to have been damaged by shipwrecks.

The government initially planned to close the beach for four months, but later decided to keep it closed for a longer period of time without setting a specific time frame.

It is especially difficult when most coral reefs die, "said Thun Thamrongnawasawat, a professor of marine ecology at the University of Cassitsart in Bangkok.

He added that more than 23,000 new coral reefs have been planted since the closure of the beach last year, but remains to see the number of coral reefs that were bleached by the strong summer sun.

The total damage to Thailand's coral reefs has reached a "serious" level, with an alarming increase over the past decade, he said, adding that he blamed the booming tourism industry.

About 38.2 million tourists visited Thailand in 2018, up from 35 million a year earlier.

The Bay of Maya alone visits about 4,000 tourists per day, more than the actual capacity of the beach. After reopening, about 2,000 people are expected to visit the beach daily.

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