Like every day on this paradisiacal island of Thailand, hordes of tourists arrive this morning on the bay immortalized by the film "The beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio, armed with selfie sticks.
"There is too much here, "said Saad Lazrak, a 61-year-old tourist from Morocco, caught up in the crowd jostling on this small beach surrounded by impressive limestone cliffs.
" There is not a place to the beach without someone taking pictures, "says Oliver Black, a 22-year-old tourist
Rangers watching this jewel in Koh Phi Phi National Park try to regulate the incoming outboard waltz and Releasing unceasingly from Maya Bay, with their cargo of tourists.
Authorities estimate that nearly 4,000 tourists visit this crystal-clear bay each day, mostly only a few dozen minutes away, before boarding again. speedboats chartered by one of s many tour operators in the region.
But the good days of these are counted, provide the Thai authorities, Maya Bay to be closed in June – and until September-, "to allow the ecosystem to regenerate, "argues Songtham Suksawang, director of National Parks.
– Regional Phenomenon –
Across Southeast Asia, is found this same phenomenon of tourist overpopulation and its impact on the fragile ecosystem
The Philippines will ban tourists from Boracay Island for six months from April 26.
President Rodrigo Duterte has compared this island, which annually receives about two million visitors (and generates $ 1 billion for the Philippine economy) to a "septic tank", its 500 hotels being accused of dumping their sewage directly into the sea. A widely shared practice across Southeast Asia.  9002] In Indonesia, the authorities were the first to sound the alarm last year over six kilometers of Bali's dirty shoreline.
The environmental crisis in Bali ended in March in the spotlight with the video turned viral British diver Rich Horner, filming his dive in the middle of plastic bags and other waste, in the tropical waters of Bali.
"Plastic bags, always more plastic bags .. .. ", commented on Facebook the diver, under his video seen more by a million Internet users.
In waste and absence of wastewater treatment is often added in these paradise islands a problem of behavior of tourists , trampling coral reefs, also manhandled by speedboat anchors.
"Tourism has a whole host of negative effects on coral health," confirms Eike Schoenig, marine biologist at the Oceania Research Center Thailand
For countries with mass tourism such as Thailand, Indonesia or the Philippines, it is a question of finding solutions without killing the goose that lays golden eggs.
In Thailand on Maya Bay, the boats will be able to approach the bay but will not be able to dock and no one will be allowed to enter the bay.
– Quota –
And from October, resumption of the tourist season which ends in April-May, the authorities are considering several options, including a quota of the number of tourists allowed on the beach.
Thailand is conducting studies on the measures to be taken for six other marine areas to In Indonesia, the government has identified ten other areas such as Lombok Island or Lake Toba in Sumatra, where to develop the tourism industry.
With the stated goal of releasing Bali from part of its tourist population.
Experts point to the need to take long-term actions, beyond the effects of announcements and closures of a few months, in the low season.
Because the number of tourists continues to grow , as in Thailand, which constantly beats its record of tourists entering its territory.
The boom of Chinese visitors, moving in groups and without ecological awareness, poses a long-term challenge to Asian governments Southeast.
Of the more than 35 million vacationers who visited Thailand in 2017, almost 10 million came from China.
burs-joe-dth / lch / mcj