Since its foundation in the early 1920s, Northern Ireland remains a difficult tourist destination to promote, despite clear similarities to its neighbours in climate and attractions. Tourism has however played a key role in state-building and image-shaping in Northern Ireland, being used to showcase the region’s modernity but also borrowing from contested images of rural Ireland. The activities and advertising of the Ulster Tourist Development Association (UTDA), a voluntary, government-backed organisation which promoted tourism in the early years of the new statelet, can cast a light on the politics of the troubled region, and help us understand the power of tourist media in shaping public discourse and eliciting public debate on a wide number of issues connected to identity, development, and dependency. The UTDA and its members show us some of the ways in which Northern Ireland navigated modernity in the first twenty years of existence through tourism, as well as highlighting the importance of personalities and local elites in its development and culture.
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Cultural Studies