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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

book coverCrang, M. & Travlou, P. The Island that was not there: producing Corelli’s island, staging Kefalonia. In: Obrador, P., Crang, M. & Travlou, P. Cultures of Mass tourism: Doing the Mediterranean in the Age of Banal Mobilities. Farnham Ashgate; 2009:75-90.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter will focus upon the contested practices and imaginations of one island whose tourist market is markedly divided between an upmarket north and mass market south. In the midst of this tense clash of tastes, the island was the setting for the book and the film of Captain Corelli’s mandolin. So this chapter moves between the Louis de Bernières’ book Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (1997), the Miramax film of the book (released 2001) and the touristic experience of the island. In the year after the release of the film visitor numbers from the UK to the island, who form some 87% of those arriving by plane, rose by 22% and 10% again the year following, more strongly than growth in visitors from other countries, and growing more rapidly than British tourism to Greece in general (Hudson and Ritchie 2006: 263-4). It was by all accounts a classic case of movie driving up the popularity of a destination. This has set in play competing and complementary imaginaries of the island as landscape and beach resort – and what such beaches should be used for. Hosting the (so-called) most photographed beach in Greece, alongside beaches, or always ‘coves’, labelled as ‘romantic’ via the movie, alongside mass tourism infrastructure the chapter unpacks the production of the beach and scenery for tourists. Not least here we want to highlight the different Kefalonias imagined and those lost and found, those unobtainable and those haunting the Ionian.

Department of Geography