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Lagoon at the Sheraton Grande: Security tightens from July 10

Phuket's Asean Summer Summit Family Fun

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Phuketwan Advises: Carry Your ID, Be Polite

PHUKET comes under the Internal Security Act from Friday, just as the Laguna Phuket Summer Family Festival swings into high gear.

Tourism and terrorism have never been known to mix, and the declaration of the security act is designed to make sure the ''t'' that the island really wants continues without the ''t'' that it doesn't want.

Security is the reason why the islanders who attend the Laguna Phuket Family Festival, which began on Wednesday and runs each day until August 30, are being advised to bring ID along with them.

More through coincidence than planning, Laguna Phuket is also host next week to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior officials from 27 countries involved with the ''42nd AMM/PMC and the 16th ARF.''

This event is actually much more important than that awkward-sounding series of acronyms would make it seem.

Nuclear disarmament, torture, human trafficking, missile deployment and piracy on the high seas, as well as at the local CD/VCD stalls, are some of the issues likely to be talked about by decision-makers.

And the fact that the huge regional diplomatic gathering happens to be taking place along with the Laguna Phuket Summer Family Festival merely demonstrates the island's adaptability and desire to please.

This is a tourist destination roaring for a piece of the action, and prepared to go to great length to encourage visitors - even if they are dressed in suits and serious in demeanor.

And even if some of the visitors are dressed in camouflage and boots, and driving military equipment, as they were on Thursday afternoon.

The juxtaposition of the two events says a lot about Phuket. The hope is that the rest of the world will be saying a lot about Phuket over the next few weeks, too.

The hope is also that most of it will be good for tourism.

As a Laguna Phuket manager said: ''The regional gathering is fantastic for Laguna Phuket, fantastic for Phuket, and fantastic for Thailand. If the international media project a positive image, it will be everything we need.''

The Internal Security Act will run rings around Laguna Phuket, with the first security circle at five kilometres and another, more intense circle, at three kilometres.

Vehicles will be stopped, IDs checked, and some cars, pickups and motorcycles will be searched.

Inside the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket, where the key Asean and other regional meetings will take place, security will be extremely tight during the key dates.

Wise islanders will make themselves aware of the days when VIP cavalcades are likely to be on the road between the airport and various north island resorts, and avoid temporary gridlock.

Laguna Phuket, though, plans to party on regardless. It hopes to take the big diplomatic event in its stride, too.

Today a spokesperson was confident that the Summer Family Festival, which includes fun for kids between 2pm and 5pm and a beer garden bbq and sports bar from 5pm to midnight, could proceed without problems alongside the Asean summit from July 17-23.

It will certainly be a great adventure all round for Phuket people. The Summer Family Festival is taking place at the Canal Village, at what could be called a safe family distance from the Sheraton Grande.

Details of more intense security measures will be published on Phuketwan as they become available.

Don't forget to carry your ID everywhere, smile a lot, and be polite.

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Comments

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You know what really ticks me off, that if it were not for my thai friends in Cherng Talay, I would not have been able to get my vehicle passes from the police/military to come and go from my home.

Manners would have been nice if we, as the residents here, could have been informed to get these permits before the deadline tonight.
Many residents here will not be able to come and go to their homes without these permits, so again. no thinking required ???

Posted by Graham on July 10, 2009 13:24


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