Sri Lanka pledged on Wednesday to revoke a popular bikini ban and raise its eyebrows in a popular seaside resort as the authorities urged tourists to wear what they wanted on the beach.
A sign erected by the local police on Habaraduwa Beach, about 130 km (81 miles) south of the capital Colombo, depicts a pair of bikini western women crossed with a red “X”.
“According to Sri Lankan culture, please wear the right clothes,” it said, claiming that the bikini is “unsuitable”.
A police official in Colombo said local law enforcement officials did not seek approval for these signs, and the signs were controversial after spreading on social media.
Sri Lanka does not allow visitors to disclose clothing – including men in shorts – to visit Buddhist temples and other places of worship, but beaches are usually more relaxed.
The tourism department said that tourists on the island’s famous coastline need not worry, and measures are being taken to eliminate these signs.
According to the Tourism Development Board, “The dress code is unnecessary and unfounded for visitors who enjoy the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka is a popular Buddhist island with tourists. In the past, it has been criticized for foreigners to offend moral tastes.
Foreigners dressed in costumes, tattoos or jewels depicting Buddhas have seen tourists being deported because they “harmed the feelings of Sri Lankans.”
Last month, as part of the social media challenge, three Sri Lankan men landed in hot water after exposing their bottoms near Buddhist temples and posting images online.