Using the archival documents and personal interviews as historical sources, this essay analyzes the ideological problems of advertising international tourism in the main travel agencies of the Soviet Union during the Brezhnev era, 1964-84. These agencies, Inturist, a Tourist Department of the Soviet Trade Unions and a Communist Youth League's organization Sputnik, encountered problems with advertising from the early beginning of their history. In the 1960s and the 70s they created special departments responsible for propaganda and advertising or advertising and mass media in Inturist. On the one hand, these tourist agencies had to provide interesting information to attract more Soviet and foreign tourists and more financial sources. On the other hand, the most attractive elements in advertising Soviet tourism were various national elements of different Soviet nationalities, including their costumes, music and handicrafts. As a result, such efforts exposed the limits of Soviet cultural homogenization project during the stage of developed socialism. In practice, it led to serious problems for the representatives of the Soviet tourist agencies in foreign countries. The most dangerous problem was nationalism. The essay explores how the problems of national identity were tied to advertising Soviet Union travel to foreign tourists as a new strategy of the Soviet tourist agencies during late socialism before perestroika. Despite strict KGB and ideological regulations, new 'national' forms of advertising such as folk music survived after 1984 and contributed to expansion of tourism, which brought increased profits and influence to the leaders of the local tourist agencies.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.