The foreign fascination with Tito turning Yugonostalgia into profit

The foreign fascination with Tito turning Yugonostalgia into profit
A living room at the Yugodom guesthouse in Belgrade. Image: Yugodom / Facebook

3 July 2017

Yugotour is not just any old tourist adventure, it’s a time-machine, providing enthusiasts with an authentic immersion in the region’s communist past.

Participants have the chance to explore Yugoslav leader Tito’s bunker in Bosnia, stay in a Yugo-retro apartment in Serbia and ride around in a Zastava, the quintessential car manufactured in Yugoslavia, nicknamed the “Yugo”. The Belgrade stops on the tour include the Hotel Yugoslavia, a formerly luxurious hotel bombed by NATO in 1999, as well as the Sava Centre, providing tourists with a leading example of modernist architecture.

According to Milica Ilinčić, the operations officer for Yugotour, most of the participants are foreign. However, some people from Balkan countries join the tours, mainly interested in remembering what Yugoslavia was like. While foreigners tend to be more interested in the architecture, the locals are more taken with Tito’s grave in the Museum of History of Yugoslavia.

Along the way, participants stay in the Yugodom guesthouse in Belgrade, a reconstructed replica of a typical apartment in the Yugoslav era. More than just an exercise in nostalgia, the owner Mario Milaković sees the reconstruction as something with intrinsic aesthetic value; in other words, a feat of design that goes well beyond a money-making scheme for tourists.

Yugonostalgic tourism is emerging as a growing trend, both for foreigners who know nothing more than the two syllables of the former Yugoslav leader, but also for younger people in the region who want to learn more about the era.

Find out more about Yugotour here.