Yugoslavia's Sunny Side: A History of Tourism in Socialism (1950s-1980s)

Yugoslavia's Sunny Side: A History of Tourism in Socialism (1950s-1980s)

Yugoslavia's Sunny Side: A History of Tourism in Socialism (1950s-1980s)

Yugoslavia's Sunny Side: A History of Tourism in Socialism (1950s-1980s)

Excerpt

A quarter of a century ago an elderly lady of my acquaintance, who had spent most of her life in a deeply provincial small town in northern England, used regularly to holiday in Yugoslavia. Her politics were unthinkingly of the Right: she was a stalwart supporter of the British Conservative Party and of Margaret Thatcher, and after a lifetime of reading the right-wing British press she was automatically opposed to socialism in any shape or form. But she loved Yugoslavia passionately. She did not regard it as “communist,” in the pejorative Cold War sense, and extolled the friendliness and freedom of its people as she “knew” them, in the classic style of an inquisitive tourist with nothing beyond a courtesy vocabulary in the language. This perception, common to many British visitors to socialist Yugoslavia, resonates perfectly with the stereotypes about Yugoslav exceptionalism and hybridity that are interrogated and partially endorsed, in carefully nuanced ways, in this excellent book. I am honored to have been invited to write this preface, and take great pleasure in doing so.

Hannes Grandits and Karin Taylor have put together probably the best single volume on the history of post-war tourism in any individual country, albeit one that no longer exists. It examines both domestic and international tourism, with an overwhelming emphasis on the former, which is unusual (certainly for a country with a Mediterranean seaboard) and refreshing. Club Méditerranée makes a fleeting (indeed tantalizing) appearance, but the actors in these dramas are not the international tourism companies who dominate so much of the literature, but Yugoslav organizations, agencies, and especially individuals, from Tito himself (in guises ranging from acerbic commentator on “wild” tourism development, to object of pilgrimage to a shrine and outdoor museum established during his lifetime) to a spectrum of . . .

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