Ban bikini call may affect German tourist inflow to Goa

Panaji: Goa's ruling politicians calling for a ban on wearing bikinis on the state’s beaches has not been received well in Germany. This might affect the flow of German tourists, 4,000 of whom land in the state to enjoy the sun and sand every year.

"Does wearing bikinis impede India’s superpower ambitions, as a Goan politician has said?" Aurobindo Xavier, president of the Goa chapter of the Indo-German Friendship Society (IGFS), a collective of German Goaphiles and Goans settled in Germany asks. There are 40 permanent residents from the country here.

A Goa beach. AFP

A Goa beach. AFP

Another factor troubling the German visitors is the new visa-on-arrival regime, which is proving cumbersome. "Filling up the application for the visa, one has to give the name of the grandparents! Not many know their grandparents full name. Germans are getting annoyed about this and this year the number of German tourists visiting Goa will probably decline," he said.

However, this has not dampened the spirit of the Society, which is planning to add a German flavour to the tourist season.It will be hosting the 7th German Cultural Week beginning this week. Lined up for the week from 7 to 13 December are a range of events, all of them with a Deutsche touch, ranging from musical performances, German cuisine and drinks, German Christmas baking classes, lectures, a film screening, to generally voicing issues which concern German in Goa and Goan expats in Germany.

"The main aim of our Society is to promote inter-culturality beween Germany, Goa and to foster cross cultural understanding between German and Goans. All our events are focused on this. We promote German classes for Goans, but also want German to learn Konkani (Goa’s native language)," says Xavier.

For those who love music, the Goan version of the traditional German Oktoberfest will be held at Clube Vasco da Gama, a club which has been going strong since the colonial Portuguese era.

The festival will not only be a sing and dance affair with a German DJ belting out music, but will also offer German beer, schnapps, grilled German sausage and of course Sauerfrout complete with pumpernickel and original Black Forest ham. “We also have a German bakery course given by German ladies and a culinary course on traditional Goan dishes specifically for Germans,” Xavier, a professor of Goan origin who teaches in a Munich university tells Firstpost.

There will also be more academic engagements on Goan and German themes, including a lecture by Ursula Kleinhans, formerly with the German Ministry for Science and Technology, who will speak about promoting international science and technology projects in Deutschland.

Amid the cheer, Xavier says the society will also discuss issues which have begun to niggle Germans and those living in Goa. German charter airline, Condor, a leading charter tourism operator, he says, has ceased operations on the Germany-Goa route this year, which would prove to be a deterrent for German travellers keen on a Goa beach holiday.

"Condor used to fly to Goa from November to April at least once a week," he says.


Updated Date: Dec 09, 2014 19:34 PM

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