Qatar's capital city, Doha, has just been chosen as the venue for the 2022 World Cup. And while many locals are busy celebrating the exciting news, others are thinking about how an influx of tourists might affect the small Middle Eastern nation.
The new Reflect Your Respect campaign, which officially launches in Qatar next month, is designed to help Western tourists learn about local modest clothing standards. In one drawing from the campaign, several stick figures are shown in different outfits, including one in a short skirt and another in tight-fitting pants, with Xs underneath them to indicate they're inappropriate.
"If you are in Qatar, you are one of us," one flyer reads. "Help us preserve Qatar's culture and values. Please dress modestly in public places." The materials are being printed in both Arabic and English. There is also a Twitter account and Instagram page to help promote the campaign.
Reflect Your Respect, which is being organized by the Qatar Islamic Cultural Center, also lists some specific dos and don'ts for would-be visitors: Men should not go shirtless, and women should not wear leggings as pants. There are also some guidelines about non-clothing-related behavior, including requests not to kiss or embrace in public and not to take pictures of anyone without their permission.
Qatar is not the only country to set behavior and clothing guidelines for tourists. Singapore also bans kissing in public and has fined visitors for violating the ban. Many religious and holy sites around the world, from the Vatican to the Hagia Sophia, ask men and women to remove their shoes or cover their heads and/or shoulders before being permitted to enter.
The Reflect Your Respect campaign advises visitors to Qatar that covering from the shoulders to the knees is considered appropriate. But what does that mean for the soccer players who will be in the World Cup matches held in Doha? Let's hope they (and their team uniforms) get the memo ahead of time.
This is going to go SO well.