How do former Soviet states market themselves to tourists?

Mark Ross

Central & Eastern European Studies

4th

Year of study:

Tourism is a relatively new phenomenon within the former Soviet Union republics with the region previously restricted only to Soviet visitors. Tourism has become an important part of the national industry in the Baltic States: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, and each of these countries have undergone a phenomenon known as nation-branding in order to develop a national image they wish to present to the international community in hopes of attracting not only tourists, but foreign investment too. This research is a comparative analysis of the tourism websites of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania in order to explore the extent to which the legacy of former Soviet occupation has impacted the way they market themselves to tourists. It will also explore whether or not the national brand is influenced by sentiments of nationalist ideology within Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. This research aims to show what makes each of these nations unique and distinct from their neighbours and the messages and stories they seek to convey about themselves.

I’m Mark, I was born and raised in Glasgow, and I’m a final year undergraduate in Central and Eastern European Studies. I’ve always been fascinated by identities and how we acquire, shape and express them; much of what I choose to study explores the labels we give ourselves and others. In 2019 I toured across a large swathe of Europe and from this I was curious to explore how a nation presents its national identity to tourists the world over. Right now, I’m working on my undergraduate dissertation while maintaining an illustrious career as a hotel cleaner – you can find me in your local pub, drunk on white wine, trying to explain the ins and outs of politics in Russia.

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