A Place of Your Own on Tito’s Adriatic: Club Med and Czechoslovak Trade Union Holiday Resorts in the 1960s

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Abstract

This article presents the disparate, yet similar, stories of foreign tourist resorts built on Yugoslavia’s coast in the 1960s: two of them owned privately, by the French Club Méditerranée, in Pakoštane (Croatia) and on Sveti Marko island (Montenegro); one, in Bečići (Montenegro), the property of socialist Czechoslovakia and its Trade Union organization (Revoluční Odborové Hnutí). Drawing on archival documents, newspapers, and magazine articles as well as interviews, I discuss why these resorts were established, and how they operated within their specific material, financial, and metaphorical contexts, while also examining how tourists and tourism planners assigned meanings to tourism, and envisioned it within its global context. The French-owned Club Med’s resorts were profit-oriented, private initiatives that catered toward individuals and families on vacations that were envisioned as a means of personal growth. Revoluční Odborové Hnutí’s resort, by contrast, was owned by socialist Czechoslovakia’s labor union. It served union members and their families, and was designed according to principles of social and collective tourism. Nevertheless, as this article argues, each of these resorts embodied core features of the modern, time-restricted, spatially managed, and pleasure-oriented experience of vacation abroad. Moreover, a concept of insularity—the comfort of sojourning in a self-contained space that was at once foreign and familiar—defined each resort’s conception and promotion of their seaside vacations, thus bridging the projects’ ideological and institutional differences, and superseding local understandings of place. The projects’ histories, finally, prefigured contemporary tourism’s contradictions and complexities, such as the dwindling of conventional distinctions (between home and abroad, for instance). At the background of this comparative analysis is the broader history of tourism in postwar Yugoslavia, which held high hopes for tourism as a vector for economic development and the promotion of good international relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-404
Number of pages19
JournalTourist Studies
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Adriatic Sea
  • Club Méditerranée
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Yugoslavia
  • insularity
  • seaside resorts
  • social tourism
  • tourism history

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