The sunniest island of the Adriatic Sea: utopian images and narratives of island tourism promotion
Ana Perinić Lewis
(Institute for Anthropological Research)
Paper short abstract:
This paper analyses the concurrent uniformity and heterogeneity of representations of the island of Hvar in destination branding, place promotion and commodification.
Paper long abstract:
The tourist promotion of the island Hvar has for two centuries been based on several dominant stereotypical notions and narrations about the sunniest island of the Adriatic. The idealised and utopian Hvar is an island with only a few overemphasised and exaggerated geographic, climatologic and cultural features, and all descriptions of them are hyperbolic. Tourism being the most important and the most promising branch of the island's economy, the islanders themselves are in different ways using and toying with the stereotypical representations and discourses of tourist narrations about the island, life on it, as well as about themselves. There is no institutionalised, uniform branding of the entire island, apart from the five tourist boards which carry out the tourist promotion activities on the island. This has resulted in creating different images and representations of certain island settlements which, through the choice of particular natural, cultural and traditional elements and local identifications of their inhabitants, wish to emphasise their own distinctiveness and uniqueness. Due to mutual competition in the diversity and attractiveness of the tourist offer, depending on the perspective of the island towns or municipal centres in which tourist promotional activities are organised, different notions and narrations emerge where the entire island is concerned. As a result, a homogenous image of a utopian Hvar is being decomposed into a complex, polycentric island made out of a multitude of islands and different island identities.
Island ethnographies revisited: challenging utopias, re-evaluating heritage?