Indian minister denies prohibition of bikini

Posted Jan 31, 2010 by R. C. Camphausen
What to imagine when one reads about a "bikini ban" on certain beaches in India? Would one have to go naked, considering this is about the 60's Hippie-Haven of Goa, or need one dress up in a rubber swim suit? Or is it all about publicity?
Bollywood star Lara Dutta  one of India s so-called Bikini Girls
Bollywood star Lara Dutta, one of India's so-called Bikini Girls
Tourism Minister for the Indian state of Goa, Fransisco Pacheco, was quoted by the Indian edition of ZeeNews on January 30, declaring unambiguously that "There are no moves to ban bikinis on the beaches."
With that statement, the minister was reacting to media reports which had claimed that a ban of bikinis was pending for the sun-drenched and popular beaches of Goa. As it turns out, a ban of bikinis was a mere rumor, and we cite here The Times of India which states this:no official of the tourism department had many any statement indicating a ban was in the offing.
What actually has happened, and what was apparently misunderstood in early reports, is that the government of the Indian resort state of Goa has started a campaign to ban ads featuring bikini-clad women, at least in state-sponsored tourism brochures.
It is an attempt to improve the image of Goa as a resort for families, rather than to appear as a destination for sex-tourism. As it happens, Goa has recently witnessed several crimes ranging from attempted to actual rape, from drug and alcohol related deaths to the murder of a Russian woman. Whether or not this is related to these crimes, the number of travelers visiting Goa has been declining during the last years, and the authorities are trying to do something about it.
Wearing a bikini is not as yet a natural choice for most Indian women, but the minister duly noted that a ban on bikinis cannot be imposed because of the many foreigners who comes to these beaches to take a sunbath. Indian newspapers and magazines have a special term for women clad in enticing bikinis, a name that probably would not be used in the Western media: Bikini Babes. So, in fact, there's no ban of bikini's on the actual beaches, just a ban of Bikini Babes in all empanelled advertising agencies. Here the words of the state tourism minister as given in the India Times: "Goa is a family holiday destination and not a sex tourism destination. We will make sure that bikini babes do not symbolize Goa tourism."