Overwhelmed with Tourists 4 Thai Islands Close Indefinitely
Paradise now has a literal, “Closed for Business,” sign on it. Thai government authorities have decided to close 4 paradise-like resort islands in a desperate effort to save them from permanent ecological damage. The onslaught of modernity and excessive tourism have taken a toll on these remote Thai islands. These islands basically exist in remote ecological bubbles in relative proximity to the rest of the world. If the islands are not closed, the ecological damage of excessive tourism, pollution and the siphoning of extremely limited, local resources could result in irreparable damage being done to the local Thai environment and natural ecology. Consider - a modern, Western-style recreation resort is capable of servicing hundreds or thousands of clients. The smaller, rustic and remote island resorts of Thailand can comfortably service a little under 100 people at a time.
The specialty of the Islands
In addition, these islands have limited space and natural resources, and they often struggle to function past maximum capacity at any given time. Over 80 percent of the local coral reef surrounding theses remote Thai islands have been damaged or destroyed by dropped boat anchors and the activates of snorkelers and deep-sea divers. Thai beaches, resorts, and villages that can barely service 70 people at once are now being inundated with over 1,000 international visitors at a time. If the beaches are not closed, the damage to the environment will be irreparable. The four Thai islands closed-off due to excessive tourism include Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nai. They have been closed off immediately to the public at large and especially tourists. The remote Thai isle of Koh Tachi will be closed-off indefinitely to visitors sometime in October 2016. Sounds too incredible to be true?
Proposal to strategically lower the Number of Tourists
In fact, the concept of closing off national properties to tourism is not a new concept at all. The Italian village of Cinque Terre and the city of Amsterdam have recently considered the implementation of potential marketing proposals designed to help strategically lower the number of annual tourists allowed to visit their respective countries. Such measures are not being considered for xenophobic or anti-tourism purposes, per se. In fact, most if not all of the cities considering such measures certainly depend upon tourism to reliably replenish official coffers.
Tourism is big business
Yet if internationally known, small-sized resort towns and villages, with realistic capacity limitations extending to dozens or hundreds of people, are inundated by a thousand, then, as the phrase goes, something's got to give. Tourism is an important economic factor for Thailand. While the beach closings are far from ideal, there are literally hundreds of other viable Thai islands that could be used for commercial purposes. Thailand has not run out of paradise. Yet. Still, if extreme care and strategic conservation efforts are not taken in the near-future, then even more island paradises could end being closed for business.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)