International Conference "Branding Mediterranean Europe: Tourism, Transport, and National Identity, 1945-1990"

Branding Mediterranean Europe: Tourism, Transport, and National Identity, 1945-1990
Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Rethymno, Crete, 8-10 June 2023


branding mediterranean europe

In the last 60 years, the number of tourists in European Mediterranean countries has multiplied exponentially. In these countries, tourism is one of the largest service industries, therefore building a successful, destination brand is of major concern for the economy. It has also, however, societal and ideational consequences. Competing for the same ‘product’ of tourism on a global scale forms a huge part of nation branding. The narrative and imagery of a country’s attractions feeds into the construction and revamping of national identities. In this sense, tourism can become a map to guide our study of discursive, ideational and cultural changes in Mediterranean Europe, particularly in the period from 1945-1989 but also understand the impact of these discourses on cultural identity; for each one of the countries and the history of Southern Europe as a whole. Management and tourism scholars have long investigated the economic and branding implications of this phenomenon, while in recent years, anthropologists and sociologists have discovered the value of the study of tourism. Yet, the historical depth of their approaches is typically quite limited. We are interested in addressing this lacuna in the period from 1945-1990.

Looking at Mediterranean Europe’s tourism offers an invaluable opportunity to write global history from the perspective of small states that developed into popular tourist hubs. What are the advantages of ‘smallness ‘and how did these countries generate a policy with a global reach and international and national consequences? To distil a place’s identity is a complex process that involves a network of multiple stakeholders at local, national, and international level, often with competing interests that attempt to shape a place’s image. The so called ‘holiday makers’ from tour companies, advertising agencies, public authorities and planners, state tourist organisations, graphic designers, national airlines executives and cruise lines produced visual stimuli and textual messaging to familiarise vacations to the mass public. The conference aims to foster an interdisciplinary discussion that, through case studies, mobilises methodological tools from a broad spectrum of fields. These include history of international relations, economic, social, and political history, business history, cold war studies, public diplomacy, visual culture, and communication studies also informed by sociological approaches.

Register to participate online at the link below:

There will be a live stream available on YouTube.

Attachment 1.5MB, PDF