Top 20 Vintage Tourism Ads (Part 2): Travel ads as antidepressants

During our mission to discover the best vintage tourism ads, we came across so many posters that were too good to ignore. So guess what! Here comes the second part of abouTourism’s series of vintage tourism ads,  now renamed to Top 20!

The Art Deco style of vintage poster art had replaced Art Nouveau soon after World War I. Art Deco posters in the early 1900’s came into being with more organized geometrical shapes through the influence of the modern art movements of Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism. Geometric formality and simplicity would characterize this new style in vintage poster art of this period while poster artists conveyed their feelings of a new and modern future.

During the 1930’s there would be an explosion of advertising posters created to try to stimulate the depression era economy. Travel posters enjoyed considerable popularity as tourism begun emerging as an industry after WWII, destinations looked for a reinvented image and travelling was considered an antidote to the past economic depression. Enjoy!

#10. The Queen of Bermuda entering Hamilton Harbour, Adolph Treidler, 1930’s

This poster features the ‘Queen of Bermuda’ entering Hamilton Harbour with a couple taking a look in on her approach during their shoreline bike ride. Adolph Treidler took a risky trip to Paris during the Depression that led to the French Line account and that helped him get hired by the Bermuda Board of Trade in the 30s for campaigns and posters that put Bermuda on the tourist map.

#9. Prague, Rome of the North, 1935

#8. Visit Tunisia, the Land of Traditions, Elmekki, 1954

#7. Chicago, Leslie Darrell Ragan, 1929

Chicago was Leslie Ragan’s first poster for the New York Central Lines, the railroad for which he would produce many of his iconic Art Deco images. With its great depth and combination of shadowy and luminous areas, this timeless view of Michigan Avenue skyscrapers under a towering thunderhead contains all the romance and grandeur of Ragan’s mature style. He warmly embraced the skyscrapers of Chicago and New York as symbols of American progress. In Chicago, the City of the Big Shoulders is reborn as a Midwestern Athens.

#6. Hellas- Hydra, Yiannis Moralis, 1956

Yiannis Moralis was an important Greek visual artist and part of the so-called “Generation of the 30s”. The Greek National Tourism Organization commissioned this painting depicting a local scene in the island of Hydra in 1956. Over the years, Moralis was also involved with creating theatrical set and costume designs for the Greek National Theatre and the Greek National Ballet; illustrating poetic works by Odysseas Elytis and Giorgos Seferis; and decorating architectural works.
#5. Atlantic City – America’s Great Seashore Resort, Edward Eggleston, 1935

In the early 30s, Edward Eggleston produced what is often considered the best series of posters for the Pennsylvania Railroad, with the most spectacular ones featuring Atlantic City. The generally conservative rail line gave Eggleston the freedom to show off the famous Boardwalk with luscious scenes of aristocratic young ladies on the beach by day and night. Eggleston’s striking beauties are highlighted by a rich color palette and fabulous architectural settings which create an idyllic world somewhat akin to a Hollywood set. Indeed, Atlantic City was in its heyday during the Depression, when a weary public needed an escape to a more perfect world – either of celluloid or sunshine.

#4. Tokyo for Tourism, 1930’s

#3. Disneyland, Stan Galli, 1960

#2. Fly to South Sea Isles, Paul George Lawler, 1939

One of the most famous airline posters of all time, this great Pan Am poster brings to life the exotic adventure of luxury travel in the Thirties. A beautiful island native serenely watches a Boeing Super Clipper 314 land in the dramatic bay of Pago Pago, one of Pan Am’s string of seaplane bases across the Pacific. The 314 was the largest and most advanced flying boat of its era, capable of carrying 24 passengers over the unprecedented range of about 2800 miles. Like the zeppelins, this plane offered first class elegance plus the “legs” to handle intercontinental travel. It featured sleeping berths for all, a dining lounge and even a honeymoon suite. Indeed, the Boeing 314 enabled Pan Am to become the first airline to offer regularly scheduled routes across the Pacific, and shortly thereafter across the Atlantic, beginning service in June 1939.

#1. Paris, Salvadore Dali, 1969

Salvador Dali created this poster for Paris, one of a series of six posters emblazoned with butterflies for the French Railway.

Sources:, www.parisposters.coml,,,,,

Top 20 Vintage Tourism Ads (Part 1): The best of the first

This first part of abouTourism’s series of vintage tourism ads is a collection of the best posters from the first part of the previous century, the “Golden Age of Travel”, as a remembrance of how it all begun.

Looking at these vintage posters from destinations all over the world we wonder how much things have actually changed over these past 100 years. Even today, during the online revolution and with the availability of affordable and wide spreading media, you will still find tourism campaigns that rely  just on an inspiring photo and logo to attract international tourists.

We cannot help but admire the simple yet powerful designs and colors, while realising that some concepts are not as new as we thought. Most ads were created by design legends and commissioned by the powerful transportation industries or the first national tourism agencies promoting a world of enticing destinations and new modes of transportation. Historical information, wherever available, complete the collection. Enjoy!

#20. Bretagne, Hugo d’Alesi (1903)

Simply because it is probably one of the very first.

#19. Norway – The Land of the Midnight Sun, Ben Blessum (1925)

#18. Athens: the Parthenon, Nelly’s (1929)

The first-dated Greek Tourist poster featuring the Parthenon as photographed by famous photographer Nelly’s, following the foundation of the Greek Tourist Organization during the second period of the political leadership of Eleftherios Venizelos (1928-32).

#17. Montana, USA (1937)

This poster showing an Indian encampment next to a lake, was made for the Unites States Travel Bureau, funded by the WPA, which was created during the Great Depression by FDR’s New Deal. In an attempt to lower unemployment, the WPA hired millions of people from all walks of life, including artists. This poster is from the “See America” series, created under a Federal Art Program and made between 1936-1938 to promote tourism in Montana.

#16. Cote d’Azur, Toute l’Anee, Jean-Gabriel Domergue

Fireworks of bright green and yellow palm fronds burst above elegant vacationers in Jean-Gabriel Domergue’s “Cote d’Azure”. A French Art Deco painter, Domergue (1889 – 1962) began as a landscape painter and student of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec before achieving fame painting coquettish women as the self-proclaimed inventor of the pin-up.

#15. Cote d’ Azur, Le soleil toute l’anee, Roger Broders

In his job promoting the Paris-Lyons-Mediterranean Railway, graphic artist Roger Broders (1883 – 1953), was pivotal to poster art’s initial wave in popularity. Defining vintage travel poster art of the 1920’s and early 1930’s, his distinctive, exuberant Art Deco style goes along with his ability to evoke the romance and nostalgia of travel. A taste for luxury travel, exotic locations and leisure activities was a feature of the hedonistic post-war years of the 1920s. Sports and outdoor activities were all the rage, and people were travelling more for pleasure than ever before.

#14. Australia, The Tallest Trees in the British Empire, Percy Trompf (~1935)

One of Australia’s most prolific and most celebrated poster designers, Trompf is attributed as designer of “thousands of advertising posters” (Australian Travel Posters p. 29). Known for his “bright, colorful and optimistic images,” Trompf also utilized “natural images . . . to beguile both domestic and international tourists to various regions of Australia” (Ibid p. 29-30).

#13. In a German Forest (Deer), Jupp Wiertz (1935)

#12. Get in the queue for Queenstown, New Zealand (~1930)

“Get in the queue for Queenstown” urges this vintage New Zealand travel poster with its catchy slogan. It shows trampers looking out over Lake Wakatipu toward the Remarkables clambering through a styilised capital letter “Q” with the then small town of Queenstown below them. This was orginally a large screenprinted poster probably issued by either the NZ railways publicity branch or the quaintly named “Department of Tourist and Health Resorts” in the early part of the 20th century.

#11. All Roads Lead to Switzerland, Herbert Matter (1934)

Matter’s eight revolutionary travel posters for the Swiss Tourist office were the first to use photography as collage – purely as a design element such as type. Matter in the years after 1932 produced what are widely regarded as some of the most celebrated posters in the history of design. Commissioned by the Swiss National Tourist Office, his groundbreaking works such as ‘All Roads Lead to Switzerland’  and ‘Pontresina’ further developed his new found awareness of the formal elements of photography. No longer manufactured as discrete isolated images, he now composed the photograph in such a way that it came to function as a single element in the totality of a graphic design.

Stay tuned for Vintage Tourism Ads part 2

10+1 Most Creative Tourism Ads!

DMOs are trying hard to create tourism campaigns that stand out from the crowd.  Here’s a collection of stunning and creative tourism ads from destinations all over the world.

10. MTV Philippines Department of Tourism

9. Victoria Tourism Commercial – Music by Paris Wells feat: Brunswick Women’s Choir

8. Visit Manchester

7. “Voglio vivere così” – spot Toscana,

6. NYC Tourism commercial – The Ride

5. Positively Wellington Tourism

4. Denmark Introduces Harrowing New Tourism Ads Directed By Lars Von Trier

3. Behind the Scenes – Making the 100% Pure New Zealand TV Ad

2. Las Vegas: What Happens Here, Stays Here

1. Tourism Australia: Come Walkabout

Just Released: Kerala Tourism’s international campaign, Your Moment Is Waiting is a film that goes far beyond the realm of a commercial, to capture the soul of Kerala like no destination hitherto has.

Kerala Tourism: Your Moment Is Waiting