In June 2018, 12 young Thai soccer players convinced their coach to take them on a trip into Tham Luang Nang Non cave after practice. When they tried to exit the cave, they found the entrance impassable due to flooding caused by heavy seasonal rains. While they were eventually found by British divers and rescued by Thai Navy SEALs,the boys and their coach were trapped for nine days without food. In addition, a trained diver who delivered oxygen to the group died because he didn’t have enough on his way back.
Since it reopened on November 16, the cave complex, located in the Tham Luang-Kuhn Nam Nag Non Forest Park in northern Thailand, has reportedly seen many visitors (in the thousands). Here are a few questions we have regarding that tourism boom.
Who is securing this cave?
Officials at the Tham Luang complex, where the cave is located.
Who is operating/allowing tourists to come near this cave?
The Tourism Authority of Thailand. Chongklai Woraponsathron, Thailand’s deputy head of national parks, recently gave a statement on the matter, saying the area will be a “world-class tourist attraction.”
What exactly can you see? What are you looking at?
Nobody is allowed in the actual cave itself. However, stalls and vendors are littered throughout the area selling souvenirs. “We are not just happy because of the money from tourists,” Vipa Romaneechutima, a woman who sells lottery tickets near the cave, told The Guardian. “We are also very proud people want to travel here to see our beautiful park.”
Why would you want to see this?
Well, why would you? Are you interested in the park, which features numerous waterfalls and mountain ranges, including one, the “Mountain of the Sleeping Lady,” that resembles a long-haired lounging woman? Or are you interested in seeing the place that’s home to a rescue that took the world by storm?
Is there any reaction to this news from the kids who were trapped there?
No public statements have been released by the individuals involved in the incident.
Does Elon Musk have a reaction to this news?
SpaceX founder and noted social media user Elon Musk had some thoughts on the incident, which he took to Twitter to express while the harrowing debacle was underway. Musk called the rescue diver tasked with saving the boys a “pedo guy.” Musk intended to put together his own rescue plan when the cave diver told Musk he can “stick his submarine where it hurts,” claiming that Musk’s plan to use a submarine to perform the rescue was “Just a PR stunt.” Musk has yet to comment on the revelation that tourists have been flocking to the site, but he did apologize for the name-calling.
Will there be a feature film adaptation of the incident?
You know it. Actually, more than one. The production company behind God’s Not Dead is reportedly developing an adaptation and so is Jon M. Chu (with the help of Ivanhoe Pictures), the director behind the hit Crazy Rich Asians.