Thailand closes off two more islands to tourists to protect coral reefs
Less than 2 weeks ago, the Thai government closed Koh Tachai island indefinitely. On Wednesday, the government chose to ban all tourist activities at three more islands: Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nai.
|All three of the islands are just off the coast of the popular tourist destination Phuket. The Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DCMR) claims that natural resources around the islands are fast being depleted as tourism has increased. Regional chief of the DCMR, Watcharin Na Thalang, at a meeting with tour operators and guides on Tuesday, said that coral damage is being caused by the coral bleaching process. He said that although the process occurs naturally, human activity accelerates it. At present, up to 60 speedboats visit the three islands each day with tourists staying up to 3 hours snorkelling and engaging in other activities in the water. Already, tourist facilities are being removed from the islands and shortly shops and restaurants will be vacated.|
"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. If it's not closed now, we'll lose Koh Tachai permanently."