Among the many collections in the National Library is its history of Austrian tourism posters, miniature works of art that date from the 1900s to around the 1980s.  In the early 19th century the first guide book was published; Empress Elizabeth had a collection of travel guides covered in beautiful red leather.

Early pre-WWI tourism posters featured the beautiful scenery of Austria.
Following the end of WWI and the Hapsburg monarchy, the tourism posters did not change much.
In the 1920’s graphic design gave a voice to many Austrian artists. I sure hope this family packed sunscreen.

“Holidays under the Swastika” saw the removal of the word, “Austria” from posters, replaced with the name of the region instead.  Post WWII saw a return to tourism. Although barely 300 of the nation’s 4,700 hotels survived the war intact, the new Federal President Karl Renner declared, “We need tourism and to invite all the world as our guests,” and the enduring “Dirndl Standard” was born.



Photo posters were the rage in the 1960s. I can not imagine the person who thought this scene would inspire travelers to visit Austria!

Ah, the 1970s. Close to the final attempt to attract tourists via the poster medium.
And the 1980s. By this time the tourism poster was past its prime; the use of personal photography and considerably more travel guide books had become the new marketing strategy.

This exhibit was really fun to visit; I only wish the library had made it possible to purchase reprints of some of the posters, or even postcards.  But now I have something to search the street markets for!