|Posted on May 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM|
I was visiting a landmark monastery in Cyprus when I saw a chunky male tourist from Russia wearing a Speedo swimming costume and nothing else. That was probably the most blatant example of tourists disrespecting the local culture that I have ever witnessed--it was tantamount to wearing shoes into the Hala Sultan Tekke in nearby Larnaca.
Recently, the people of Qatar have been insulted by and concerned about similar breaches of etiquette in their small country by foreigners. Here is a piece about the local government's measures to stem the rising tide of disrespectful dress by tourists:
Hosts for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar, have begun plans for the hosting of the tournament, and this includes control of tourist behavior.
The country has begun the Reflect Your Respect campaign, which aims to inform tourists how to dress when coming to the Middle Eastern country.
A flier demonstrating the kind of clothing that Qatar’s Islamic Culture Centre wants tourists to keep at home has big X’s under diagrams showing a woman in a sundress, a woman in a sleeveless top and shorts, and a man in a tank top and shorts. A picture of a ladies’ room-style cartoon woman dressed in a short-sleeve shirt and pants – or are they leggings? – also has a big X beneath it.
“If you are in Qatar, you are one of us,” the flier reads. “Help us preserve Qatar’s culture and values. Please dress modestly in public places.”
Qatar has launched previous initiatives to educate foreigners on dress codes, The Independent said.
“The amount of immodest clothing is growing in public places, especially shopping malls,” Nasser al-Maliki, the Islamic Culture Centre’s public relations chief, told Gulf News. “Such foreign behavior conflicts with our traditions. We do not want our kids to be exposed to it or learn from it.”
The campaign extends to a new multi-billion dollar airport in the Qatari capital of Doha, where Qatar Airways moved all its operations on Tuesday.
“Qatar is an Islamic state and being respectful to its culture will help you enjoy your stay,” says a list of “helpful tips” offered at the airport. It says women should dress modestly and men “should not be shirt-less in public,” and advises visitors that “public displays of affection and intimacy are strongly discouraged.”