Commodification of contested borderscapes for tourism development: Viability, community representation and equity of relic Iron Curtain and Sudetenland heritage tourism landscapes

Arie Stoffelen, Dominique Vanneste

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Tourism can symbolically underpin policies for economic and political cross-border cooperation but the resulting rhetoric may not be supported by all tourism-related stakeholders. Our research on the viability, community representation and ethical components of the Iron Curtain Trail and the European Green Belt in the German-Czech borderlands shows that these tourism projects commodify conflictive borderland histories to gain support for a European-wide cross-border cooperation discourse. Despite these efforts, both projects are contested on local levels. The contestations result from the selectivity of EU-inspired memory politics and lacking participative governance across the border. This combination undermines the capacity to deal with (i) different socio-spatial identities, creating challenging encounters between commodified borderland histories and locals with their memories; (ii) development and promotion challenges of the tourism projects, potentially undermining their viability as tourism products. In the light of these contestations, defining when EU-inspired borderland tourism projects are successful becomes a political issue with important moral questions regarding whose memory should be commodified, and for which purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBorderless worlds for whom? Ethics, moralities and mobilities
EditorsAnssi Paasi, Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola, Jarkko Saarinen, Kaj Zimmerbauer
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780429427817
ISBN (Print)9780815360025
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameBorder Regions Series


  • Tourism
  • Regional development
  • Cross-border cooperation
  • Geopolitics
  • Heritage

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