Cruise to the Tropics, 1920
Cruise booklet




Organized tourism in the Caribbean developed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During this period, Europeans and North Americans began to perceive the region as a new leisure destination, in addition to a source of agricultural products. Through books, pamphlets and advertisements, the emerging tourism industry generated enticing images of the Caribbean as a place for adventure and relaxation. Postcards, in particular, became a major medium through which tourists collected visual experiences and shared them with others.

Havana postcard
Havana and Nassau postcards

Mass tourism in the Caribbean developed after World War II and, today, many North Americans and Europeans perceive the region primarily in terms of recreation. Tourism publicity materials draw on a long tradition of illustrations that emphasize lush landscapes, tranquil beaches and the picturesque customs of local peoples. Such stereotypical images, constantly recycled in the mass media, have a powerful impact on external visions of the Caribbean. There are, however, alternatives to these images. Several generations of painters, sculptors, photographers and filmmakers, particularly those based in the Caribbean, offer visions that explore the region's natural and social complexity from a wide range of perspectives.

booklet cover postcard
Jamaica booklet and postcard

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