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Special Issue on Communist Legacies & Cities: Dimensions & Opportunities for Tourism

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Tourism Cities

The Communist period during the 20th century was the dominant political regime for more than 50 years in countries geographically covering the half of the planet. Despite this, their legacies provide many intriguing and still under researched topics, including tourism. This is even truer when we speak about tourism in relation to Communist economic organisation, art and architectural expressions and urban planning.  The heritage that this unique “historical experiment” left is now facing big challenges to survive. It is frequently the subject of destruction, recycling or, less often, protection and conservation.

There is, generally in the ex-communist countries, a general feeling of malaise regarding thecommunist period and its cultural manifestations (Iankova, 2013).  This in part explains the lack of research produced by academics of these nations. A breakthrough came in 2011 when several Communist-era case studies were described by a Travis (2011) as exemplary cases of sustainable space planning of mountain parks and resorts in Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic and Croatia, situating Communist urban planning as one of the most successful tourism initiatives of the second half of the twentieth century.

Over the last 5 years, we have witnessed a wide discussion amongst tourism researchers using different terms - communist, socialist, red tourism, totalitarian tourism.  In Europe the events and places related to the collapse of communism created new tourist attractions as pointed by Hall (1991), Greenberg (1990), Smith (1990). For example, the history of the Berlin wall is among the widest explored example related to the totalitarian regimes and tourism (Light and Dumbrãveanu 1999).

Communist Heritage Tourism as a term is introduced in the works of Light (2000) exploring the Romanian communist past, Dujisin (2007) for Albanian heritage, Henderson (2007) researching the East Asian countries of North Korea, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, and  Li and Hu (2008), who discuss red tourism in China.

The Communist period in Europe lasted approximately 45 years, while in Russia this periods extends up to 74 years (1917 – 1991), and in some countries continues even today. After the 1990s many “new” destinations, including former socialist regime countries emerged and started to exploit the legacy of this period for tourism, with some of the most famous attractions being:

· Germany, Berlin wall, the divided city
· Zunyi Meeting Memorial Museum, China
· The Museum of Yugoslav History and House of flowers (Mausoleum) of Josip Broz Tito in Belgrade, Serbia
· Poland -  Nowa Huta (Steel Mill),
· Hungary - Memento Park (open air museum), House of Terror
· Czech Republic (Prague), Museum of Communism
· Bulgaria, Museum of Socialist Art

In the field of Tourism the main issues related to Communist Heritage are linked to: interpretation; the attempt to create the new European image; negative attitudes towards the old regime and; emotional involvement.

This proposal aims to cover different aspects of communism, its ideology, economic organization and cities special organization and heritage, as these aspects are related to tourism development. We would like, to encourage a “thinking out of the box approach” and to open the discussion about the legacies of communism for tourism, linking different aspects of its social, intellectual, economic and ideological platform  to tourism, travel and  heritage.

This call for articles will include but is not limited to the following topics:
1.      Communism and collective memory – reflections on tourism development
2.      Communist ideology and its economic legacy influencing tourism development: shared economies
3.      Communist versus capitalist political system – some influences on tourist demand, attitudes and expectations.
4.      Inclusion and exclusion of communist tangible heritage into/from the cities' identity – lessons and opportunities for tourism development
5.      Issues related to communist heritage, its conservation and protection.
6.      Representation of communist heritage in the country image, advertisement and promotion
7.      Communism, embargos and impact on economic and tourism development.
8.      Communism period legacies shaped the tourism industry.


Submission deadline: 15th April 2017

Planned publication date: September 2017


Dujisin, Z. (2007). Forget communism … or sell it. Global Perspectives, August-September 2007, from
Henderson, J. C. (2007). Communism, heritage and tourism in East Asia. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 13(3), 240–254.
Iankova, K., ( 2013). A review of “Planning for Tourism, Leisure and Sustainability: International case studies” 2011 Anthony Travis, for Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI10.1080/09669582.2013.818830
Ivanov S. (2009) Opportunities for developing communist heritage tourism in Bulgaria,TOURISM REVIEW Vol. 57 No 2 p. 177-192
Li, Y., & Hu, Z. (2008) Red tourism in China. Journal of China Tourism Research, 4(2), 156–171.
Light, D. (2000a). An Unwanted Past: contemporary tourism and the heritage of communismin Romania. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 6(2), 145-160.
Light, D. (2000b). Gazing on communism: heritage tourism and post-communist identities in Germany, Hungary and Romania. Tourism Geographies, 2(2), 157–176.
Timothy, D., & Boyd, S. (2003). Heritage tourism. Harlow: Prentice Hall.
Ivanov S. (2009) Opportunities for developing communist heritage tourism in Bulgaria,TOURISM REVIEW Vol. 57 No 2 p. 177-192
Travis, A. ( 2011) Planning for Tourism , Leisure and Sustainability. International case studies, CABI: Wallingford
Urdea, A. (2013) Perceptions of Communism: The Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia and the Memento Park in Budapest. MA dissertation, 2013, Business school, University of Greenwich


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