PATONG: Deputy Prime Minister Vishanu Krua-ngam officially launched the tourism high season last night and assured a throng of carnival-goers that Patong is a safe place. As Patong enjoyed the party, K. Vishanu said of his evening in the popular holiday town, “I didn’t see anything unusual that would cause worry either among tourists or organizers.” This year’s one-day season-opening carnival and parade focused on the harmony of cultures in Phuket, highlighting traditions including Phuket-style weddings, the dancing of Phuket’s native sea gypsies, Talung shadow puppets and other performances. The number of people on the streets appeared to be similar to previous years. K. Vishanu said, “Central government and local government realize the importance of Phuket and have been careful about the security of tourists. I believe that the authorities have done their best. “I would like all tourists and everybody in Patong to be witnesses that Patong is safe.” Responding to questions about some tour agencies canceling trips to Phuket in the wake of the bombing in Bali, the Deputy PM said, “Thailand is a friendly destination, there is no reason for concern and we have a security strategy for places that people seem to think are risky, like Phuket.” He said the three-level security system that was now in place included an increased and visible police presence and two secret levels that the public could not be made aware of “for obvious reasons”. Yesterday also marked the start of a month-long seafood festival throughout Phuket, which will climax with a three-day carnival in Patong at the start of December.
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