Latvia: Blondes Will Shake The World
Latvia’s blonde ambition
The sharp downturn in Latvia’s economy has put paid to the foreign vacations that many Latvians enjoyed during the boom years. Now cash-strapped citizens are more likely to holiday at home. "Latvians are rediscovering Latvia as a tourist destination," says Maris Fogelis, first vice-chairman of Trasta Komercbanka. Local press reports suggest that after years of jetting off to sun themselves on the beaches of Dubai or Sharm El-Sheikh, in the winter of 2009/10 Latvians have been reacquainting themselves with the simpler and less expensive pleasures of ice-fishing and cross-country skiing in their own country. Latvia lost the economic plot during its unfettered boom but it seems in the course of the crisis it has rediscovered itself. Nowhere was that more evident than at the Go Blonde festival of May 2009, when a veritable army of blondes – some natural, some chemically altered – took to the streets of Riga in a glorious display of Latvian womanhood designed to shake the country out of its recession-inspired depression and raise money for charitable projects. "The Go Blonde festival was a great, fun idea," says Gene Zolotarev, chairman of local investment banking boutique Maximus Capital.
As Marika Gederte, president of the Latvian Association of Blondes, which organized the event, notes: "Last year’s parade, this year’s festival and next year’s carnival have made and will make a substantial contribution toward Latvia’s tourism sector. Go Blonde will soon be as important a project for Latvia as the carnivals in Brazil and Italy, which are of great interest to thousands of tourists."
This May’s Marilyn Monroe-themed Blondes Will Shake The World event promises to be bigger and better than ever.