The Best Form of Rest
This chapter explores the unresolved balancing act between the two aspects of tourism: as a social movement and as an economic enterprise. In the course of the 1930s, as the Soviet tourist vacation became more pleasurable, it became more attractive to the emerging Soviet middle class that possessed the social, political, and economic capital to acquire it. But Soviet tourism in the 1930s, whether rigorously proletarian or comfortably quasi-bourgeois, never achieved the mass proportions envisioned by the founders of the movement. The poverty of its infrastructure would limit the level of comfort that a Soviet vacation on the road could provide. This early history reveals a landscape of rival agencies, each competing to represent the best interests of domestic tourists, a picture of economic pluralism at odds with the image of a centrally planned and one-party state.
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