The Beach From ‘The Beach’ Is Closing to Tourists
Leonardo DiCaprio’s first leading role after Titanic basically made him the biggest movie star of his generation was The Beach, Danny Boyle’s story of an American tourist who discovers a secret idyllic island near Thailand. The film, based on a novel by a young Alex Garland, didn’t make anywhere near as much money as Titanic, but its $144 million worldwide was good enough to turn its title locale, Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island, into a tourist attraction for decades.
But all those visitors looking for a slice of Leo’s paradise have exhausted the area’s natural resources, and according to the Associated Press, Thailand’s National Parks and Wildlife Department has decided the beach from The Beach will “be closed to all visitors for four months annually starting this June to allow for the recovery of the battered coral reefs and sea life.”
The AP report claims the beach “receives an average of 200 boats and 4,000 visitors each day,” which has devastated the local coral reef and caused the sea life in the area to “virtually disappear”:
‘It’s like someone who has been working for decades and has never stopped,’ said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a prominent marine scientist and member of Thailand’s national strategy committee on environment development. ‘Overworked and tired, all the beauty of the beach is gone. We need a timeout for the beach.’
The irony here, given that Leonardo DiCaprio is a tireless champion of environmental causes and that his character in the movie gets in trouble because he doesn’t keep the secret of the beach to himself, is almost too rich. Tourists will have to find another movie beach to ruin now. Hey, where’d they shoot The Shallows? That place looked beautiful, minus the man-eating sharks.