Yugoslavia's Sunny Side

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

Hannes Grandits
Karin Taylor
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 438
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  • Book Info
    Yugoslavia's Sunny Side
    Book Description:

    Despite the central role of tourism in the political making of the Yugoslav socialist state after WWII and in everyday life, the topic has remained neglected as an object of historical research, which has tended to dwell on war and “ethnic” conflict in the past two decades. For many former citizens of Yugoslavia, however, memories of holidaymaking, as well as tourism as a means of livelihood, today evoke a sense of the “good life” people enjoyed before the economy, and subsequently the country, fell apart. Undertakes a critical analysis of the history of domestic tourism in Yugoslavia under Commumism. The story evolved from the popularization of tourism and holidaymaking among Yugoslav citizens in the 1950s and 1960s to the consumer practices of the 1970s and 1980s. It reviews tourism as a political, economic and social project of the Yugoslav federal state, and as a crucial field of social integration. The book investigates how socialist and Yugoslav ideologies aimed to turn workers into consumers of “purposeful” leisure, and how these ideas were set against actual practices of recreation and holidaymaking.

    eISBN: 978-615-5211-87-4
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface: Some Contexts for Yugoslav Tourism History
    (pp. ix-xxii)
    John K. Walton
  5. Tourism and the Making of Socialist Yugoslavia: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-30)
    Karin Taylor and Hannes Grandits

    The song More, More (“The sea, the sea”)¹ by Croatian rock musician Darko Rundek evokes the longings of a family preparing for their seaside summer holiday. Each year they draw up a list of things to take with them weeks before setting off for the Adriatic:

    And don’t forget:

    Charcoal, the barbecue, three deckchairs,

    The sun umbrella, flippers, goggles,

    Sunglasses, playing cards,

    Tennis shoes, the thermos flask,

    Tarzan and Karl May² [books], the swimming ring,

    Badminton rackets, flip-flops, a ball,

    Ham, bacon, the camera,

    And the big container full of wine.³

    Unfortunately, they fail to fit everything into the tiny...

  6. Part I: “Holidays on Command”
    • Workers into Tourists: Entitlements, Desires, and the Realities of Social Tourism under Yugoslav Socialism
      (pp. 33-68)
      Igor Duda

      In 1984, the newspapers in Yugoslavia complained about the economic crisis and the decline in living standards, describing the tough life of the workers and their struggle to retain old entitlements and traditions, such as going on holidays. To support their understanding of current affairs, they quoted the constitution and several articles of law that guaranteed dignity and happiness, contrasting them with cartoons and jokes, and funny songs such as “Whoever has money bathes in the sea, and whoever doesn’t, bathes at home in a basin.”¹ During the Split music festival, a regular feature at the beginning of each summer...

    • From Comrades to Consumers: Holidays, Leisure Time, and Ideology in Communist Yugoslavia
      (pp. 69-106)
      Rory Yeomans

      What to read on holiday? This was a question faced by many young holiday makers in Croatia in the summer of 1958. One publishing company aimed to provide all the entertainment and reading materials a young person could need in its annual holiday magazine. Among the typical puzzles, interesting information about the planets and space travel, and what life would be like in the year 2000, it also contained useful advice for its young tourists. Below a comic strip which told the story of espionage in the art world, the editors of the journal had provided their young readers with...

    • The Yugoslav Road to International Tourism: Opening, Decentralization, and Propaganda in the Early 1950s
      (pp. 107-138)
      Igor Tchoukarine

      The study of Yugoslav tourism from a historical perspective would be incomplete without a more systematic glance at the issue of foreign tourism. Several factors call for such analysis. The development of foreign tourism in Yugoslavia preceded that of other socialist regimes by a decade and outdistanced them in terms of revenue generated by this sector and, to a lesser extent, the number of Western tourist visitors.¹ Yugoslavia’s readiness to welcome foreign tourists cannot be isolated from its foreign policy, since many saw Yugoslavia and its Adriatic coast as a place located “between East and West.” Yugoslavia’s desire to provide...

  7. Part II: Tourism and the “Yugoslav Dream”
    • Travelling to the Birthplace of “the Greatest Son of Yugoslav Nations”: The Construction of Kumrovec as a Political Tourism Destination
      (pp. 141-170)
      Nevena Škrbić Alempijević and Petra Kelemen

      “The small village of Kumrovec where Tito was born has become a favorite excursion destination for Yugoslavs and many guests from abroad who wish to see Josip Broz’s native home, his native house, and the milieu in which he spent his childhood.”² This is how a socialist-era tourist guide with the title Memorial Park Kumrovec described the countryside showcase of a stable and prosperous “land of workers and peasants,” as the former Yugoslavia was defined in official discourse. According to this guide, at the beginning of the 1980s some 500,000 people every year came to Kumrovec, a village in north-western...

    • My Own Vikendica: Holiday Cottages as Idyll and Investment
      (pp. 171-210)
      Karin Taylor

      Josip Broz Tito had a holiday cottage, so did Tonči the mechanic. Tito enjoyed a chic home in landscaped gardens on an Adriatic island reserved for the president. Tonči’s hillside cabin in a village close to Zagreb had a photograph of Tito on one wall and a picture of the Madonna on the other.¹ Both men pursued wine-making as a hobby in their free-time getaways. The diverse sizes and styles of holiday cottages in Yugoslavia reflected the many social and cultural distinctions that permeated society. As a retreat from the city and an attainable symbol of personal contentment, the holiday...

    • Highways of Desire: Cross-Border Shopping in Former Yugoslavia, 1960s–1980s
      (pp. 211-238)
      Maja Mikula

      Although the violent breakup of socialist Yugoslavia continues to cast a shadow on people’s memories of the former country, some “sunnier” aspects of daily life during socialism seem to resist historical amnesia. One of these is the ritual of shopping abroad, which emerges as an oddly recurrent theme across the gamut of former Yugoslav popular cultural texts, media, and genres. Almost invariably, cross-border shopping is evoked with fondness and nostalgia, and associated with what some remember as the Yugoslav era of peace and plenty.

      As an exceptionally widespread cultural practice, cross-border shopping involved Yugoslavs of varying ethnic, socioeconomic, cultural, and...

  8. Part III: Tourism Economies in Transformation
    • Fishing for Tourists: Tourism and Household Enterprise in Biograd na Moru
      (pp. 241-278)
      Karin Taylor

      The island of Mana in the Kornati archipelago is crowned by an artificial ruin: a stone archway built for a 1950s film production. Here, Austrian actress Maria Schell played a Mediterranean damsel in a motion picture filmed on the Adriatic coast in 1959.¹ The film turned out to be insignificant, but the production was crucial for a local man and ultimately for the region. Jakov, a fisherman and butcher, earned what was then a spectacular sum of money for transporting items required for the set in his boat, as well as for hauling in fish for a scene in the...

    • Youth Labor Action (Omladinska radna akcija, ORA) as Ideological Holiday-Making
      (pp. 279-302)
      Dragan Popović

      Youth labor brigades became a key tool in the development of Yugoslav communist ideology. The first “youth labor action” (Omladinska radna akcija, ORA) was organized during the Second World War in 1942,¹ and the last in Banja Luka in 1990. Between 1942 and 1990, more than two million young Yugoslavs participated in these events. In general, ORA involved mass-scale voluntary labor on the part of young people with the goal of implementing projects for the common good. On an ideological level, the Yugoslav communist party used ORA as an instrument to construct a youth that would create, support, and live...

    • What To Do at the Weekend? Leisure for Happy Consumers, Refreshed Workers, and Good Citizens
      (pp. 303-334)
      Igor Duda

      One of the films presented at the 15th National Film Festival in Pula tackled the subject of family problems in contemporary urban life, albeit in an entertaining manner. A couple with two sons divorce. The husband, a company manager with close links to the authorities, marries a young wife, has a pleasant, well-furnished house, a new car, and on the whole, a good life. His first wife marries a classical musician who has no interest in the first wave of consumer frenzy, but she has notions of grandeur and is keen to compete with her first husband’s luxurious lifestyle. The...

    • Yugoslav Unity and Olympic Ideology at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games
      (pp. 335-364)
      Kate Meehan Pedrotty

      On 8 February 1984, a sellout crowd of fifty thousand spectators filled Sarajevo’s Koševo Stadium for the opening ceremony of the XIVth Winter Olympic Games, during which they were entertained by gymnasts, folk dancers, and members of the Yugoslav People’s Army band.² On the same day, the Museum of the XIVth Winter Olympic Games officially opened at 7 Nikola Tesla in Sarajevo, in the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch.³ These events marked the culmination of years of negotiation, planning, construction, and marketing on the part of local, republican, and federal officials in Yugoslavia, and both...

  9. Synopsis
    • Yugoslavia as It Once Was: What Tourism and Leisure Meant for the History of the Socialist Federation
      (pp. 367-402)
      Patrick Hyder Patterson

      Half-forgotten now in the aftermath of the harrowing wars of the 1990s is the old image of Yugoslavia: a kinder, gentler implementation of socialist rule that managed to keep its citizens tolerably content, often even happy, and to welcome, impress, and even inspire visitors from outside the communist world. That optimistic picture of the country once had considerably currency both at home and abroad, and it depended in no small part on the ability of the government to deliver to its people a Yugoslav version of the Good Life, a modest and moderated but nonetheless satisfying approximation of the consumption-driven...

  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 403-406)
  11. Index
    (pp. 407-415)