Research Aims
Researchers Network
Book and workshop

Tourism and Leisure Cultures

in Socialist Yugoslavia

Research project at the Institute of History,
Karl-Franzens University, Graz


Tourism and travel as leisure are significant social phenomena that developed from a culture of the elite into a mass phenomenon in the course of the 20th century. In Yugoslavia after World War Two, tourism catered not only to foreigners but became part of the way of life of many families.
On the political level, tourism was an important object of social and national policies in the making of the socialist state. 

The project aims to investigate the social history of tourism and leisure in the former Yugoslavia and changing social practices linked to urbanisation, consumption and consumerism.

"More, more"

i ne zaboravi:
drveni ugljen, roštilj, tri ligeštula
suncobran, peraje, maske,
naočale za sunce, karte,
tenisice, termosicu, Tarzana, Karl Maya, šlauf,
badmington, japanke, loptu, šunku, špeka,
i veliki kanister s vinom

Popsong reminiscient
of summer holidays on the Adriatic

"The sea, the sea"

And don't forget:
the charcoal, the grill, the three deckchairs,
the sun umbrella, the flippers, the masks,
the sunglasses, the playing cards,
the tennis shoes, the thermos flask,
the Tarzan and Karl May [books], the swimming ring,
the badminton rackets, the flipflops, the ball,
the ham, the bacon, the camera,
and the big container with wine"

Darko Rundek and the band "Haustor",
1996 (Croatia)

Research Aims
Tourism has been widely researched as a revealing aspect of ‘modern' societies and concepts of well-being in Western Europe. However, the topic of holidaymaking remains underexposed for Eastern and Southeast Europe in general.
In the context of the socialist countries, the case of Yugoslavia is particularly interesting on a number of points:
  • The country’s geo-political position between "East" and "West".
  • The nature of the Yugoslav system that allowed the population significant space in which to determine the private sphere.
  • The possibility for Yugoslavs to travel abroad.
  • The disintegration of socialist Yugoslavia despite a narrative of national unity and growing prosperity.
The project intends to explore tourism and leisure as a political project that aimed to improve the standard of living and forge a specifically Yugoslav socialist way of life and identity.
On the other hand, it will document experiences of recreation and holidaymaking through biographical narrative and the investigation of material culture (e.g. consumer items, fashion, photographs, advertising).
Through the analysis of both discourses and memories, the project aims to illuminate how ideologies of modernity and socialism shaped the everyday life of citizens, and in which ways the population arranged circumstances to meet consumer desire and notions of "the good life".  

Main topics include:Vodic 1955

Social tourism, labour and social policies, consumption and consumerism,
travel and transport, tourism architecture, organisation of public space,
artefacts used for recreation, efforts to construct a ‘Yugoslav identity’
through organised tours, tourism promotion, property ownership,
social differentiation at holiday destinations, national and regional identities.

The project (2005-2008) is funded by the FWF Austrian Science Fund.

FWF Logo


Three researchers cooperate on the project headed by
Hannes Grandits, Ph.D. (University of Graz)

Karin Taylor, Ph.D. (University of Graz)
Tourism organisation, accommodation, the private sector, vikendica (weekend home), social stratification.  

Igor Duda, MA. (University of Rijeka)
Transport and mobility, social tourism, tourism promotion, standard of living, consumerism, travel abroad.
Book  "U potrazi za blagostanjem. O povijesti dokolice i potrošačkog društva u Hrvatskoj 1950-ih i 1960-ih"
Dragan Popović, MA. (University of Belgrade)  
Politics of organised tours, historical sites and monuments, national and regional identities.

Putnik bus   Pula62   Ambre Solaire

Network: History of Tourism in 20th Century Europe

We intend to link researchers working on the history of tourism, leisure and consumer cultures in 20th century Europe with the aim of exchanging ideas and research results. In this way we hope to contribute to broadening the scientific perspective on modernity in Europe, especially by highlighting the region of Southeast Europe, and to facilitate the comparative study of tourism.
If you wish to join this informal network, please send an e-mail with your name and academic, business or media affiliation.

Network list

Other associations/resources:

InASEA International Association for Southeast European Anthropology

International Commission for the History of Travel and Tourism

International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility

CTCC Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change

Tensions of Europe Research Collaboration, Technology and the Making of Europe

CIRET Centre International de Recherches et d'Etudes Touristiques


The bibliography is comprised of three sections: 1. History of tourism, leisure and consumption (general); 2. History of Yugoslavia and tourism studies published in Yugoslavia (and the successor states); 3. Comments on the sources we have viewed for our research (archives, media). 
Tourism and Leisure
Commented Sources

Winter sports equipment Contact                                                      

Karin Taylor

Institute of History
Karl-Franzens University
Graz, Austria
Tel: 0043-316-380-8107
Fax: 0043-316-380-9735


Advertisement for a package weekend on the coast with Yugoslav JAT airlines, 1974
Accomodation guide for the Adriatic coast with a camping supplement, 1955
Coach owned by the "Putnik" travel company, 1950s             
Bathing in Pula, 1962                     
Suncream advertisement for "Ambre Solaire", 1973
Advertisement for winter sports equipment produced in Delnice, Croatia, 1975

Last edited: May 2007,   kaa