As word gets out on the indefinite closure of Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands of Thailand, I can’t help but rejoice.
Finally, the world is taking notice of the severe damage tourism has on nature if not properly monitored or managed. Since the news broke, I have been asked to provide my expert opinion on whether this is a win for sustainable tourism.
Without a doubt, it is.
But also a massive win for humanity.
Because we must realise that without nature, we have nothing but empty lands and oceans.
This is the precedent advocates of sustainable tourism have been waiting for which will bring about positive changes we can all live and travel by.
Thailand has been bold enough to stand up and protect those who have no voice, to realise that nature and wildlife are worth more than the dollar tag we have placed on it for tourism.
When you are unwell, the best cure is to rest.
And that is exactly what the Thai government are doing with Maya Bay, giving the marine area and coral a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
And we need to do this now.
Because in 12 years time, it will be 2030, and it’s estimated our population will be 8.5 billion, of which 1.8 billion will be travelling.
As humans, we have evolved to become travellers of planet Earth, and we must become aware that our impact on the planet, environment and wildlife is growing and putting pressure on nature’s resources.
If we want to continue travelling to destinations, experience nature and cultures as we do today, we must change the way we travel to be sustainable.
I can’t help but see the positive irony in all this. The beach made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie The Beach, drew masses of people over the years all wanting to see and experience this beautiful marine bay.
Now Maya Bay has the potential to become the precedent for urgent sustainable tourism measures in place, to protect precious marine areas and the environment that Leo now advocates for.
So the closure of Maya Bay is an encouraging and bold move by Thailand and a win for sustainable tourism which I support 100%. We need more nations to make bold moves and give nature a chance to recover from years of overuse and tourism.
Radical changes need radical steps, and this will lead other nations and travellers to realise sustainable tourism is the only way forward.
Written by Dayana Brooke, Founder of The Sustainable Traveller, a travel agency providing sustainable travel trips and experiences. Dayana has 17 years booking travel and is an affiliate of Savenio and Virtuoso travel networks. She advocates for sustainable tourism and veganism for the future of our planet.