Thailand closes island to tourists

Koh Tachai, Thailand.

Pristine beaches and fabulous diving make Koh Tachai a popular choice for tourists.

Authorities in Thailand today took the drastic action of closing a popular island in the Andaman Sea to tourists.  Known for its pristine beaches and fabulous diving, Koh Tachai is part of the Similan Archipelago not far from Phuket.  It has been designated a national park.  Below is a citation from a CNN news article:

“Tunya Nethithammakul, Director General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation of Thailand, told CNN on Tuesday that the island had been closed to visitors ‘indefinitely’, due to the severe deterioration of its ecosystem.

“The problems included litter and food waste, gasoline from tour boats leaching into the water, and damage to coral reefs, adding that overwhelming numbers of tourists were to blame.

This is such a small island, I would say it could accommodate just a few hundred tourists a day.  But it turned out that at certain points there were almost 2,000 tourists visiting daily,” he said.

Lunch at Koh Tachai.

The overwhelming number of tourist arrivals quickly caused environmental degradation to the island’s fragile ecosystem.

Map of Koh Tachai.

Location of Koh Tachai along the coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea.

In the interests of environmental protection, we applaud the courage and strong stance taken by the Thai authorities to close Koh Tachai to tourism, so as to allow its gradual rehabilitation.  We also urge tourists everywhere to help protect our planet from worsening contamination through inconsiderate and harmful human activities.  Be a responsible tourist – see the world, but also care enough to protect it from irreparable damage.

Koh Tachai in 2016.

The Thai authorities should be lauded for their courageous stand in closing the island to allow its rehabilitation, albeit at a high costs, considering the damage already done to it.

Photograph credits belong to the CNN report on Koh Tachai.