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Nude Sunbathing Habits

By J.F. Kloppers

It is a longstanding stereotype that the Germans are happy to spend time naked in public, but it seems for the first time the Austrians are set to give them a run for their money.

In a recent poll, nearly a third of Austrian holidaymakers admitted they sunbathe in the nude on their travels – the same number as their German neighbours.

When questioned about their holiday habits, 28 percent of travelers from both nations said they were happy to bare all at the beach.

According to Expedia’s annual Flip Flop report, which surveyed the behaviours and preferences of 12 000 holidaymakers across 24 countries in five continents, Europeans were the most at home with nudity on holiday.

European women are more likely to go topless than women from other parts of the world, with nearly half of Austrians (49 percent) likely to sunbathe topless.

Spaniards and Germans followed closely behind, with 42 percent and 39 percent respectively saying they were happy to ditch their bikini top at the beach.

In comparison, puritanical Britons and Americans are much less comfortable with holidaying in the nude. While just 12 percent of Britons will strip off at the beach, a slightly more adventurous 13 percent of Americans will sunbathe in the buff.

Worldwide, beach nudity is more common among men (18 percent) than women (6 percent).

And while the global average for nudity was just 12 percent, Germans and Austrians bucked the trend, with 28 percent of holidaymakers saying they’re happy to sunbathe naked.

The most modest beachgoers were from Asia, with only two percent of Japanese, three percent of South Korean and 4 percent of Thai beachgoers admitting to have sunbathed nude.

But being modest didn’t translate into being uncomfortable with the practice, however. Nearly three-quarters of Japanese beachgoers said they were “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with beach nudity or female toplessness.

The Spanish weren’t far behind, with 74 percent saying they are happy with nudity on the beach. But just 29 percent of Hong Kong residents accepted naked bathers on holiday, with 28 percent comfortable with the practice in India and 34 percent in Malaysia.

And it’s not all about nude sunbathing. Brazilians showed they are happy to strut their stuff in miniature swimsuits, with 95 percent saying they are happy to wear a Speedo on the beach.

The Austrians weren’t far behind, with 94 percent happy to don a pair of “budgie smugglers”, followed by 91 percent of Germans and Spaniards.

The least likely to approve of Speedos were Norwegians, with just 40 percent considering it acceptable attire. As for Americans, 57 percent were fine with Speedos.

The beach remains one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, with the report showing that more than half (56 percent) of those surveyed said they had taken a beach holiday in the past year.

Meanwhile, 73 percent of those who had taken, or planned to take, a beach holiday said they had achieved “personal bliss” as a result.

“The beach is the world’s most popular travel destination by a considerable margin,” said John Morrey, vice-president and general manager of Expedia.com.

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