Cuando la clase obrera se hizo turista,estudio de un modelo inacabado 1955-1975

Supervised by:
  1. Vicente Mas Llorens Director
  2. Ricard Pié Ninot Director

Defence university: Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

Fecha de defensa: 03 July 2017

  1. Ignacio Bosch Reig Chair
  2. Pablo Martí Ciriquián Secretary
  3. Carlos Jesús Rosa Jiménez Committee member

Type: Thesis


The proletarian class in Spain had to go through a long and tedious journey of some decades until the final attainment of the right to a paid annual vacation. This historical demand was fulfilled in the Republican Constitution of 1931 and consolidated some years later with the enactment of the Jurisdiction of Labour in 1938. It made the Franco’s regime face the challenge of devising models for the organization of leisure and vacation of workers. With an eye towards those similar experiences carried out previously by other totalitarian regimes in Italy, Germany or Portugal, the so-called Trade Union Work of Education and Rest established a complex network of hostels and summer residences with different locations throughout Spain, being significant the number of this kind of facilities located in the coastal area. The clear success that the labour of this State institution had among the working class in the first two decades of Franco’s regime favoured the perfect setting for the implementation of a new model for the organization, as well as the control, of Spanish producers’ rest and summer leisure: holiday cities of education and rest. Promoted during the middle part of the 1950s, the Trade Union Work of Education and Rest built three holiday cities for workers in Spain. They were performed “ex nihilo” as self-sufficient settlements, strategically located in privileged plots at the beach and intended not only to guarantee the rest of its residents during the summer holidays, but also to a political indoctrination which would be covertly implemented in the relaxed atmosphere that these holiday facilities offered. The model of holiday city of education and rest, object of a deep study in this research, has its starting point at Larga beach, in Tarragona, extending itself in a few years to two plots in Marbella and Perlora. Therefore, it became a subtle advance of what the next decade would bring to the Spanish coast. The present study intends to answer three questions about this new model of organization and control of proletarian rest in Spain. The first question is about the specificity that, as a consequence of its unique circumstances, this kind of holiday settlements is assumed to have. To do this, a comparative analysis has been carried out among holiday cities of Education and Rest and other alternative models for organization of working masses in the territory that at the same time would be developing in Spain, not only in the surroundings of the traditional industrial city, but also in the rural area. This is the result of the urbanization process that the National Institute of Colonization would subject to Spanish countryside. The second question, which is raised in this study after the development of the state of knowledge on the subject, deals with the possible continuity of the model over time. This research calls into question the specialized literature in the holiday cities of Education and Rest. This literature finds this model as a punctual and isolated fact from the fifties, hastily denying the existence of additional experiences promoted during the final stage of Franco’s regime. The third and final question of this study focuses on the review of the model, trying to identify the probable influence that the change of context experienced with the arrival of the sixties had on it, when mass tourism phenomenon, both national and international, would definitely break into the almost unchanged coasts of our country. As a culmination of this research, some conclusions have been proposed as a resolution of the starting hypotheses formulated in the study. The identification of some parameters inherent in the three holiday cities performed by Education and Rest in the fifties, such as the specificity of its program or its special positioning regarding place and landscape, has proved to be decisive to demonstrate the uniqueness of these sets in relation to other models analyzed for the organization of working classes in the territory. Likewise, as a contribution to knowledge on the subject, two new projects of holiday cities promoted by Education and Rest have been documented in the second half of the sixties, in Guardamar del Segura (Alicante) and in Punta Umbría (Huelva), being ignored until today by specific bibliography. Despite not having been performed, these proposals have revealed the intentions of the Trade Union Work to continue its innovative model of organization and control of workers’ rest during the final stage of Franco’s regime. However, there will be a loss of hegemony of the state institution Education and Rest over Spanish coasts for the benefit of overwhelming promotions of apartments and hotels of private promotion which will be on privileged positions at the beach from then on. This context will force the introduction of substantial variations on the model being studied in this work because of the unavoidable need to compete with other performances which would privately start to be carried out in Spanish coast. Having placed this episode of holiday cities of Education and Rest within the debate on the gestation of the mass tourism phenomenon in Spain, there are some new questions leading to future lines of study, such as finding the real causes that made the Trade Union Work leave prematurely a model apparently successful or finding its possible reminiscences on other proposals for organizing tourist leisure in the territory being implemented in subsequent decades. An example of this aspect would be the so-called tourist resorts which were so popular in Spain since the 1990s.