A popular bay in Thailand made famous in the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach is to remain closed until 2021.

Maya Bay, on the island of Phi Phi Leh, was temporarily shut last year after officials said a sharp rise in visitors had severely damaged the environment.

Up to 5,000 people were visiting the bay every day and most of its coral died as a result, the BBC reported

The ban on visitors has now been extended by two years to give more time for Maya Bay’s ecology to recover.

Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat, who advises the Thai department of national parks, told the BBC in January that when the park re-opens the number of visitors will be restricted and boats will be banned from mooring within the bay’s waters.

Local tourism operators have said they rely on the beach.

Wattana Rerngsamut, head of the local tourism association, told news agency AFP that there should be public hearings “so that local people can earn a living”.

tw5