Postcards as Representation of a Destination Image: The Case of Berlin

Ady Milman, University of Central Florida


The study adopted a qualitative approach to assess the role of postcards in representing a destination image. Twenty-five postcard racks were sampled in a variety of retail outlets in Berlin, using an observation and photography of the postcards. The 150 postcards sampled were analyzed and sorted according to the pictorial content and other iconic symbols featured on the postcards using certain photographic typologies employed in previous research. The findings revealed that unlike many other large metropolitan cities, Berlin was distinctively represented in its postcards. The analysis concluded that the postcards lacked human portrayal and featured a limited sample of its cultural and heritage attractions. Instead, the majority of the postcards featured Cold War themes, as well as generic icons and legendary mascots of the city. The lack of a focus representation of contemporary Berlin in tourists’ postcards may be explained by Berlin’s historical, economic, political, and social background. Recommendations for developing more pertinent images of the tourist experiences to be featured on postcards are discussed.