Thailand's Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, famous for last year's dramatic rescue operation that saved the lives of 12 boys and their football coach trapped inside the complex, has reopened for tourists.
The cave complex in the Mae Sai district of Thailand's northern Chiang Rai province was officially reopened at an inauguration ceremony today.
Speaking at the inauguration, Chongklai Voraphongston, deputy director-general of Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), said 'now the National Park of Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non has been adequately prepared for tourists in all aspects.'
Thai officials praying at a makeshift shrine during the Tham Luang cave opening ceremony near Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai province, Thailand, 01 November 2019.
Tourists queueing to enter the Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district after the cave was reopened to the public today
Tourists take photographs of the entrance to the first chamber of the Tham Luang cave
'The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is ready to develop this area completely so that Thais will be proud of it in the future.' he said.
Voraphongston said that cave complex had been reopened after four days of operations testing by the DNP.
The boys and their football coach, who were part of a local sports team called the Wild Boars Football Club, were trapped in darkness in the Tham Luang Cave complex.
The boys were trapped in the complex from June 23 last year for 18 days, before they were saved by a team of specialist divers, led by British experts and Thai Navy SEALs.
Photos of the 12 boys in the Wild Boars Football Club that were rescued in a three-week international search and rescue operation
Since the operation to recover the missing children and their coach was completed in July, the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex has been closed in order to run safety checks and retrieve the search and rescue equipment left inside.
Several thousand tourists have been flocking to the cave