Title

The attraction of islands: travellers and tourists in the Cyclades (Greece) in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Berg, I & Edelheim, JR 2012, 'The attraction of islands: travellers and tourists in the Cyclades (Greece) in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries', Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 84-98.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14766825.2012.660946

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Islands have long acted as projection surfaces of ever-changing desires. Tourism organisations have drawn most vigorously upon the paradise metaphor in an attempt to position modern island holidays at the forefront of our minds – regardless of an island's location. Tracing the most recent history of our island-longing and illuminating the use of the island metaphor by tourist organisations is the aim of this article. A short account of the history of tourism in Greece (especially the Cycladic Islands) provides the backdrop to an in-depth picture and text analysis of nine official English and German tourist guides to the Cyclades, as well as the English-speaking version of the official Cyclades website. Images and text are coded according to pre-determined themes and contrasted with each other. Investigating islands from the perspective of tourists and tourist organisations, it becomes apparent that the official brochures draw on established island tropes and stereotypical island imagery as a means to attract travellers, and thus follow a long-established pattern of what Western culture considers unique for island locations. Dissonances, however, are emerging as our longing for island locations is contradicted by our need for ease and speed of access, thus negating the sought-after quintessential ‘islandness’.