Post-conflict Destination Branding And National Identity Construction
: A Discourse Analysis Of Croatia’s Official Tourism Promotional Materials

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores destination branding, and the role of official tourism promotional materials in the discursive construction of Croatian national identity from the declaration of independence in 1991 to 2023. Croatia as case study is particularly significant given the disintegration of (SFR) Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the period that followed. This period encompassed declarations of independence by post-Yugoslav successor states and the wars in the wider post Yugoslav geographical space. This included the emergence of Croatia as a new nation-state, the Croatian war of independence (1991-1995), followed by its accession into the European Union in 2013, and the Schengen and Eurozone in 2023.

The literature review highlights the discursive and mailable construction of national identity informed by theories of nation building, policy contexts, and concepts such as banal nationalism and discursive construction of national identity (Mylonas, 2012; Billig, 1995; Özkirimli, 2017). This is then contextualized through Croatia’s wider historical, political and socio-cultural contexts. Underpinned by a constructivist philosophical position, the primary research relies on the critical discourse analysis of a multimodal dataset containing official tourism promotional campaigns published by the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) in the period from 1992-2023. The findings provide an insight into what transpired to be three distinctive phases in the construction of Croatianness. The first phase being Moulding Croatianness (1992-1999) portraying Croatia through representations of history fitting the Europeanness story, while omitting (SFR) Yugoslav period and the war; the second being the phase of Transitioning Croatianness (2000-2013) portraying Croatia through departure from anti modernist discourse; and thirdly, the phase of Contemporary Portrait of Croatianness (2013-2023) being emboldened through EU accession and becoming an internationally recognisable tourism brand.

Multiple contributions to knowledge include: the role of official tourism promotional campaigns in (re-)constructing Croatia’s brand and national identity as well as changes over a period of over thirty years; and making its own contribution to studies of nationalism through a tourism lens. Practical contributions include creating a dataset that includes materials missing from CNTB’s collection; informing future CNTB promotional campaigns; and the potential of disseminating the knowledge to wider audiences through an exhibition facilitated through a collaboration with CNTB.
Date of AwardFeb 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorTijana Rakic (Supervisor) & Jo-Anne Lester (Supervisor)


  • post-conflict destination branding
  • national identity
  • Croatia
  • tourism promotional materials
  • discourse analysis

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