June 29, 2020.
Tags: Phuket, Travel, Beach, Islands
The COVID-19 pandemic has left a tragic trail of death and economic hardship across most of the world. Thailand, through the early cooperation of the residents and government, has come out of the pandemic with much less damage than most of the world's countries. It's also presented the residents of Thailand with a unique opportunity.
Until the government and medical authorities feel that the borders should be re-opened to international tourism, Thailand will be relying on domestic tourism to help re-build the economy. That means that you and your family have an opportunity to explore popular areas of the country that you've longed to visit, without having to brave crowds of tourists.
It’s also a chance to see the natural beauty of Thailand in more of a pristine state. By taking advantage of becoming a tourist in your own country in the next few months, it may be an opportunity to see more of Phuket's marine life than most visitors to the island have ever seen before. As the closure of Maya Bay has demonstrated, wildlife recovers when left alone for even just a few months.
In early 2019, government officials surveyed Maya Bay and were shocked to discover the damage done to the undersea environment by the accumulated effects of tourism. They recommended the bay be closed to all human and boat traffic to allow the coral reefs, marine life, and seabed time to recover.
Within three months of the closure, a dramatic scene unfolded under the warm, turquoise waters of the bay. Reef sharks that had not been seen in the bay for years were seen swimming in the bay in large numbers.
With the dramatic improvement of the marine life in the bay, government officials were convinced of the long-term benefits of the closure. Maya Bay will remain closed to boat traffic until sometime in 2021. But sharp-eyed officials also noticed another benefit to the marine ecosystem that came from the most unwelcome of sources.
During the lockdown in Thailand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials and conservationists noticed increased sightings of manatees, dolphins, and other species of marine life in the waters around Thailand. The lack of boat traffic and pollutants slowly encouraged marine life to venture further into the shallow waters surrounding the islands and mainland of Thailand.
For the next few months, or until the borders are opened to tourist arrivals once again, residents of Thailand who enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving may be in for a treat when they explore the waters around Phuket. With the lack of tourism since the end of February, the waters around the island may be teeming with all sorts of marine life once again.
The government has learned a valuable lesson from the closure of Maya Bay, and they plan to close other natural areas of the country to allow them time to recover. By keeping an eye on news of closures, Thailand residents could have pristine destinations to explore for years. But for now, every natural area has had a chance to recover, all because of the lockdown caused by COVID-19.
But there are other benefits to becoming a domestic tourist in Phuket. The beaches, having been closed for months, will be pristine and free of plastic and other waste. The lack of tourist traffic from buses, minibuses, tuk-tuks, and taxis will also likely be noticed in the air quality.
Seafood lovers can also rejoice. With the lockdown and no tourists to feed, the fishing industry has sharply cut back on the amount of fish they have caught during the past few months. This means that there will be an abundance of fresh fish as the fishing stocks around the island have also had a chance to recover.
By getting out and making plans to explore the waters around Phuket, you'll also do yourself a world of good after the stressful weeks of the prolonged lockdown. Plus, you'll support the local vendors of Phuket who continue to suffer from the lack of tourism on the island.
As terrible as the COVID-19 pandemic was for humanity, it served as a much-needed rest for the marine life in the waters around Phuket. If you’re an avid snorkeller or scuba diver who is a resident of Thailand, this may be the perfect opportunity to view a wealth of marine life in the short window before the opening of tourism once again.
If you’re driving or flying into Phuket to explore the islands while it’s quiet, Rentals for the Holidays has spacious, modern accommodations all over the island of Phuket. Whether for a couple of avid water adventurers or the whole family, Rentals for the Holidays has convenient accommodations near your favourite attractions in Phuket.