The shifting of the Indian Premier League (IPL) from India to South Africa is providing a perfect cover for Indian tourists seeking voyeuristic pleasures.
In conservative India, nudism is taboo. Indian tourists to countries like Australia and South Africa naturally find the concept of nude beaches either appealing or revolting, depending on their taste. Visiting such exotic destinations, without their friends or family knowing about it, is obviously difficult.
That is about to change however, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) shifting from India to South Africa. Even Gujratis - the affluent, ultra-conservative people from the state of Gujarat - are flocking to South Africa, under the pretext of watching the IPL. The Indian news daily DNA reports:
Kiran Tanki, a personalised tour coordinator, said, "We have a batch of eight 25-year-olds going to South Africa during the IPL -- to watch cricket, party at night, and to laze around on the sandy beach of Cape Town, which is a semi-legal nude beach. The boys were clear what exactly they wanted to do, so it was easier to plan the trip for them."
In faraway Australia, a totaltravel.com survey revealed that more than 40 percent of travellers supported nudist beaches as boosters for tourism.
More than 1200 respondents took part in the totaltravel.com survey, with over 1200 respondents saying they’re happy for people to strip down at the beach to attract more tourists and believed nudity "was natural and beautiful".
A quarter of those polled didn’t care whether people were naked on beaches "as long as they didn’t block the sun". Only thirty-three per cent of respondents said nude sunbaking should be banned, with anti-nudists saying they "didn’t want to see it all hang out".
The worldwide tourism industry faces a challenge in these times of economic recession, and exotic destinations like nude beaches may be in for wider promotion. There are "How-to" articles on the web guiding interested tourists to nude beaches around the world.
Meanwhile, the tourism industry in India is disappointed with the IPL shift. Instead of the 25 percent hotel occupancy boost and 15 percent overall increase in tourism that was anticipated, the industry is now worried about the Rs. 15-20 crore loss for hotels and airlines, and an estimated impact of Rs. 10,000 crore in 2009-10. Tour operators, travel agencies, and online travel websites are scrambling to offer competitive deals for the Indian cricket lovers wishing to watch the IPL in South Africa.