Reinvigorating Tourism

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the Great War came to an end. Lives were lost, homes, churches, towns and cities lay in ruins, countrysides lost their idyllic beauty and economies were in shambles. After Europe recovered, the return of tourism in the 1930s became an instrument in driving economic stability and national pride. Just as visual propaganda was used to rouse support for the war, posters now promoted tourism as part of the rebuilding process.

By the end of 1939, Europe was embroiled in the beginnings of WWII and the resulting devastation was well beyond the scope of WWI. On September 2, 1945, when war ended, Europe was faced with an enormous task of rebuilding. Within a few years tourism posters again became an important media.        

More than half of the posters displayed here are from the interwar period (between WWI and WWII). Most of the featured posters are torn and frayed, showing signs of use. These posters were not intended to be collectible works of art, rather to be publicly displayed utilitarian items. Today, these posters express a time in which graphic design communicated and inspired people to travel the world, and see the beauty of foreign lands and cultures.