Thailand’s chief minister reopens famed beach from ‘The Beach’

Thailand’s prime minister has made good on his promise to reopen Siam Bay to the public in the next few weeks, nearly two decades after starring in the hit film The Beach. The beach, which is now essentially a blocked-off concrete lagoon, will return as part of a $1.1 billion project to improve the country’s tourism. Unlike the resorts depicted in The Beach — which are built on reclaimed land — the reconstruction of Siam Bay will cost less than 1 percent of the total tourist budget.

Thailand’s tourism industry has been growing rapidly since the 2012 anti-government protests that were led by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thai authorities are hoping to bring tourism to a new high with the development of the bay and related projects, which include a new coastal highway and a five-star hotel complex. Construction on the new resort is expected to be completed by 2022.

Petchat Muangthong, a spokesman for the Erawan Emergency Center, said the cleanup was a priority given concerns over contamination of the water and wildlife by the abandoned sand. (The Maya Bay resort on the Indonesian island of Bali, which also was featured in The Beach, opened in 2005 after years of redevelopment.)

Get a look at the Mayan Coast from Maya Bay by Garry Maddox. Click to Tweet.


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