Cape Town - India's Tourism Minister is back at it again, but this time he's taking on the bikini.
KJ Alphons told NDTV that tourists should be more respectful of local culture and stop walking around in bikinis only meant for the beach.
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"Abroad, foreigners walk the streets in bikinis. When they come to India, you don't expect foreigners to walk around in bikinis in our towns. In Goa, they do it on the beach. They don't come to the town dressed like that. You must have a sense of understanding of the culture of the place and country that you go and behave accordingly," says Alphons.
Swimwear has been a sore issue in recent years, spurred on by the influx of western tourists to beaches in conservative countries and the spread of burkini bans in Western countries since 2016. A few places have implemented bans on swimwear in the streets and allocated certain beaches for bikinis, while others like Alphons just urge tourists to dress 'appropriately'.
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5 Places where restrictions are placed on swimwear
Barcelona and Mallorca, Spain
You may think that in this sun-soaked country bikinis would be a welcome feature, but in 2011 the capital and island banned wearing bikinis on the streets - you are only allowed to wear them on the beach and surrounding streets. Fines can go up to €500 euro (about R7 398 at R14,80/€) if you're caught in a two-piece.
Beaches of United Arab Emirates
It's not too surprising that the predominantly Muslim country is not too fond of bikinis and brief trunks, and the state of Ras al-Khaimah has banned the swimwear for both men and women on its beaches in 2013 as local Muslim families were not too keen to share their beaches with tourists showing skin. About 95km away, Dubai beaches have no such ban in place, however, authorities urge beach-goers to be 'respectful' to other sun seekers.
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Known as a THE island destination for celebrities and the mega-rich, its mayor wants tourists to be more respectful when walking the streets of its old town. Besides a ban on eating and drinking in public, tourists are also not allowed to roam the streets in only their swimwear or shirtless. They can get fined up to €600 (about R8 878 at R14,80/€), which is warned through signs that say "Save your money and enjoy Hvar".
A typical tropical island state, it is a bit surprising that there are many public beaches where you can't don your island attire. Revealing swimwear are limited to resort beaches and certain public 'bikini' beaches that are designated as for tourists only. They are marked by a black wall to cordon off the covered and uncovered beach masses from each other, specifically as the country is Muslim.
Following the ban of burkinis in coastal towns in France - which was later overruled in the courts - Geneva voted end of last year to ban burkinis from swimming pools, forcing swimmers to either wear a one-piece or two-piece swimwear that doesn't go below the knee and arms must be exposed. It was initially introduced to prevent people from wearing clothes while swimming, but it was extended to include Muslim women's swim attire as well.
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And where bikinis are most welcome...
On the opposite side, an airplane is the last place you expect to see a bikini-clad woman. Vietjet, an airline from Vietnam, has been making news since it started in 2011 with its sexist advertising focusing on bikini-clad flight attendants, which would serve on special flights to certain destinations where governments haven't shut their uniforms down yet. It recently announced it would start flights to India's New Delhi airport, though no word yet from the country's Tourism Minister on that.