Friday, 10 July 2015

1950s Tourism in North Africa

There are times when rummaging through an archive you find a document that has contemporary poignancy that has little to do with the document's original production or context. 

This is true of this brochure 'You can no longer ignore North Africa' that advertised tourism in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria in 1951. Sara, a volunteer for Croydon Airport Society, and I found it when doing a brief condition assessment of the Air France file.

This brochure was produced while Algeria was still under French colonial control and neighbouring Tunisia was very much under French influence. Only a few years after the production of this brochure, Algeria fought a bitter and brutal war with France for its independence. It is, however, the recent atrocities carried out against tourists in Tunisia that makes this brochure particularly poignant. 

Having visited Tunisia a few years back to carry out research on Carthage and its excavation, I can attest to the beauty of the country, its intact Roman ruins and the friendliness of all the people that I met. The history of travel encompasses wider histories around empire, tourism, cultural interaction and changes within society.These can all be seen in the archives of Croydon Airport Society. Documents from the past often cause reflection on the events of today, though usually in less tragic circumstances.

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