PHI PHI LEH ISLAND, Thailand
The Wider Image: Sharks, tourists jostle for space around Thai destination island
Tourists enter the beach for an hour-long visit, where swimming is forbidden and people are only allowed to enter water up to their knees, in Maya Bay at the Phi Phi Island National Park, on Phi Phi Leh Island, Krabi province, Thailand, February 28, 2023. On any given day in Maya Bay, up to 40 blacktip reef sharks cruise in the cyan shallows while about 4,000 tourists visit its white-sand beach, flanked by towering cliffs. After a tourism ban and the COVID-19 pandemic between 2018 and 2022 halted all visitors to the bay, authorities allowed limited tourism to resume in 2022. Now conservationists say shark numbers are thinning out again, leaving Maya Bay struggling to strike a balance between preserving a pristine ecosystem and sustaining livelihoods dependent on tourism. REUTERS/Jorge Silva SEARCH "SILVA THAILAND SHARKS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.