India tells topless tourists to cover up in Goa

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The Independent Online

Tourism officials in the Indian resort state of Goa have begun distributing booklets to overseas visitors, asking them to refrain from nude sunbathing and wearing skimpy clothing in the streets.

It comes after one Goa lawmaker accused Russian tourists of "corrupting the minds of locals" and leaving a "horrifying impression on schoolchildren" by wandering the streets and beaches in a state of undress.

The former Portuguese colony is a magnet for overseas visitors, attracted by its long, sandy beaches, dusk-till-dawn parties and laid-back lifestyle.

But the state tourism department said that while Goans were generally tolerant to more informal European styles of dress, visitors should still bear in mind local religious and cultural sensitivities.

"If in doubt take local advice especially with regard to topless bathing," the guidelines read. "Nudity on the beaches and public places is strictly forbidden."

It advises: "Never ride a two-wheeler without clothes on the upper part of the body."

The guide also warns against offers of land sales and modelling contracts, and details strict punishments for drug possession or dealing.

The pocket guide is currently available in English and Russian, as Britons and Russians make up the majority of Goa's 400,000 annual overseas visitors. A German version is planned.

In January, officials mooted a ban on using bikini-clad women for state-funded advertising promoting Goa as a tourist destination after a string of crimes against women.

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