The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has moved to reassure visitors the vast majority of dive sites in the country remain open.
Seven marine national parks in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand have been temporarily closed to allow coral reefs affected by bleaching to recover and regenerate.
However, all other marine national parks remain open and operating as normal.
“Thailand’s natural resources are precious and we support the decision to protect the reefs so that future generations can continue to enjoy these world famous dive sites in years to come,” said Joanna Cooke, consumer marketing & PR manager for TAT UK.
“We do not want tourists to be discouraged from travelling to Thailand altogether.
“Avid divers can still travel to Thailand dive sites that have not been affected by the ban.”
Ms Cooke went on to suggest those looking to know more about diving in the country check out the Green Fins project, which offers tips on how to enjoy Thailand’s dive sites responsibly.
Why have these marine national parks been closed?
The national parks, wildlife and plant conservation department (DNP), ministry of natural resources and environment, has reported that coral reefs at several sites along Thailand’s Andaman coast and in the Gulf of Thailand have been affected by coral bleaching - a phenomenon in which coral loses colour and becomes paler or completely white.
Corals that have been exposed to environmental stress for an extended period of time are vulnerable to bleaching.
The key to stopping and reversing the situation is to immediately alleviate the environmental stress to prevent further damage to the affected reefs and create a more favourable environment that allows the coral colonies to recover and regenerate.
As such the below parks have been closed:
• Hat Chao Mai Marine National Park in Trang province : Ko Chueak island
• Mu Ko Petra Marine National Park in Satun province : Ko Bu Lone Mai Pai island
• Tarutao Marine National Park : The islands of Ko Takieng, Ko Hin Ngam, Ko Rawi, Hat Sai Khao and Ko Dong
• Chumphon Marine National Park : Ko Ma Prao
• Hat Nopparattara - Mu Ko Phi Phi Marine National Park : Hin Klang
• Mu Ko Surin Marine National Park in Phang-nga province : Ao Mae Yai bay, Ao Mangkon bay, Ao Jak bay, Ao Tao bay, Ko Torinla
• Mu Ko Similan Marine National Park in Phang-nga province : Ao Fai Wap bay, Ko Payu or East of Eden.
Diving is a major attraction in Thailand
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