Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Thai court orders rehabilitation of Maya Bay beach 22 years after damage by film crew

Thai court orders rehabilitation of Maya Bay beach 22 years after damage by film crew
September 14, 2022

More than two decades after the Hollywood film The Beach was shot at Thailand's scenic Maya Bay, the nation’s Supreme Court has ordered the Royal Forest Department to press ahead with environmental rehabilitation work.

Filmed on Ko Phi Phi Leh in southern Thailand, The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio (released in 2000), drew criticism for the impact of the shoot on the pristine sands of the island’s Maya Bay.

Filmmakers planted dozens of coconut trees to give a more ‘tropical’ feel to the location and were also accused of ripping up vegetation growing on sand dunes.

However, US production studio 20th Century Fox insisted it left the beach exactly how it found it and that it even removed tonnes of rubbish.

The local authorities filed a civil lawsuit in late 1999 against Thai Government agencies, 20th Century Fox and a Thai film coordinator, seeking 100 million baht (US$2.7 million) in compensation for environmental damage.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court in Bangkok upheld a previous ruling by a Civil Court that Thailand’s Royal Forest Department was liable for rehabilitating Maya Bay.

In a final ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the Department to set up a committee to formulate a rehabilitation plan within 30 days.

Environmental campaigners launched two unsuccessful legal challenges to stop filming of the movie, based on Alex Garland’s 1996 cult novel, over concerns about ecological damage.

The film exposed Maya Bay to mass tourism which, generating excess visitor numbers, led to it being closed in October 2018 to allow it to recover from the impact of a daily influx of 6,000 visitors.

The entire Phi Phi archipelago was forced into a convalescence when the global pandemic hit and visitor numbers dwindled to virtually nil as Thailand imposed tough travel rules.

Maya Bay reopened to tourists at the start of 2022, with visitor numbers capped to try to limit ecological damage.

Images: The idyllic attraction of Maya Bay (top) and with large number of visitors prior to it being closed in October 2018 (below). Credit: Shutterstock.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

19th August 2022 - Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya launches new adventure attraction

20th July 2022 - InterContinental Phuket Resort partners with SIXT Thailand to drive sustainable tourism

16th June 2022 - Thailand’s Pimalai Resort relaunches its island cleaning initiative

17th May 2022 - Thailand’s Maya Bay reopens to visitors after four-year closure

18th March 2022 - Thailand resort’s Marine Discovery Centre helps with recovery of Maya Bay

6th February 2022 - United Nations report highlights importance of tourism in global economic recovery

25th January 2022 - Thailand introduces new international tourist arrival tax

29th December 2021 - Thailand’s iconic Maya Bay to reopen as of 1st January

20th November 2021 - S Hotels and Resorts partners with Thailand Marine Discovery Centre in conservation of vulnerable bamboo shark

7th October 2021 - WTTC research reveals global loss of 62 million tourism jobs

12th July 2021 - Koh Samui tests hybrid approach for returning International tourists

9th July 2021 - As Coronavirus cases soar across Thailand Phuket opens for vaccinated tourists

21st May 2021 - Thailand’s Pimalai Resort looks to establish itself as world leading ecotourism destination

1st January 2021 - Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort secures Tourism Authority of Thailand environmental award

16th September 2020 - Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort announces its official certification as carbon-neutral

11th May 2019 - Thailand’s Maya Bay to remain closed to tourists until 2021

2nd February 2019 - World Tourism Association launched to combat overtourism

21st November 2018 - New UNWTO Report helps cities manage impacts of ‘overtourism’

22nd October 2018 - Thai tourism authorities clarify local opportunities following Maya Beach closure

3rd October 2018 - Overtourism leads to indefinite closure of iconic Thai bay

12th February 2018 - Tourists to be banned from Thailand’s famous Maya Bay