Once-pristine Thai bay from ‘The Beach’ to close to boats

Above, traditional long-tail boats used to ferry tourists are moored at a beach on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi in southern Thailand. The picture-postcard beach of the Leonardo DiCaprio film will be closed to boats from June to September this year. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
0

Once-pristine Thai bay from ‘The Beach’ to close to boats

BANGKOK: The once-pristine Thai bay which became a tourist magnet after the 2000 movie “The Beach” will be closed to boats for several months to prevent further damage to its coral, an official said Wednesday.
Hordes of tourists flock daily to Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Ley for selfies in front of the famed limestone cliffs and blue waters, leading to complaints of environmental damage to the water and sand.
But the picture-postcard beach of the Leonardo DiCaprio film will be closed to boats from June to September this year, Worapoj Lomlim of the Phi Phi islands National Parks said.
“For around 20 years the bay has welcomed boats to moor in front of the beach... but their engines have damaged coral reefs and caused problems with the sand,” he said.
“Overcrowded tourist boats have also blocked the view,” he added, saying tourists will still be able to reach the beach by foot from an adjacent bay where boats can park.
The closure is the latest effort to mitigate damage caused by tourism, a crucial pillar of Thailand’s economy with more than 35 million travelers visiting last year.
But environmental experts and officials are worried the mass tourism is causing irreversible damage to idyllic beaches, with litter and unchecked development disrupting local ecosystems.
Smoking has already been banned on 20 of the country’s most famous beaches this high season, with a hefty fine or even jail for those who flout the new rule.


Jeddah Summer festival begins on June 25

The event has succeeded in establishing Jeddah as an international tourist destination with its tourism boom and high annual hotel occupancy rate. (SPA)
Updated 11 June 2018
0

Jeddah Summer festival begins on June 25

  • During the festival, people will compete for 500 prizes worth SR1 million and draws on various other prizes
  • The festival gives investors in the tourism sector a variety of options to expand their investments to include shopping and entertainment sectors

JEDDAH: The 20th Jeddah Summer festival kicks off on June 25, offering 50 cultural and entertainment activities, including theater performances, folk art, maritime shows, shopping activities, poetry evenings, and sports events.
The 30-day festival is organized by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) with the participation of 10 big shopping centers.
During the festival, people will compete for 500 prizes worth SR1 million and draws on various other prizes.
JCCI Secretary-General Hassan bin Ibrahim Dahlan said that the Jeddah Summer festival was one of the most important festivals in the region.
He pointed out that the JCCI, with its experience in managing festivals and events, has benefited from international experiences for investing in a Saudi tourism product.
“This year, we have focused on attracting visitors and families from inside and outside the Kingdom through a series of activities that satisfy all tastes at the Jeddah Corniche, at shopping malls, and across Jeddah,” he added.
Dahlan explained that the festival’s organizers were keen to capture the cultural and civilizational aspects of the Makkah region in general and Jeddah in particular in order to make a qualitative leap in domestic tourism and achieve the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
He explained that some of the activities were to be held for the first time during the 20th Jeddah Summer festival this year with the support from the Jeddah Municipality, the General Entertainment Authority, and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
“The JCCI was assigned the great responsibility of choosing various quality activities that meet international standards,” he said.
“The festival gives investors in the tourism sector a variety of options to expand their investments to include shopping and entertainment sectors, especially in light of the increased number of visitors to Jeddah throughout the year.
“The event has succeeded in establishing Jeddah as an international tourist destination with its tourism boom and high annual hotel occupancy rate, owing to the developed and innovative Saudi tourism products provided,” he continued.
Dahlan pointed out that for the first time, this year’s festival will host a friendly basketball tournament for people with special needs, broadcast the FIFA World Cup games, feature an air village, and hold cultural activities related to women driving cars such as “Hayya Nasouq” (Let’s Drive).
Dahlan also emphasized the importance of the festival’s partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Investment and the promotional programs and contests it offers.