I always thought BBC World launched in 1991. So what were these titles from 1987 for?
I can remember working in Turkey the day the week the Gulf War started, January 1991. There was the rudimentary BBC World TV service then , it just consisted of live or 'as seen live' BBC 1 and BBC 2 non copyright programmes (i.e. news,current affairs, and docs) Often the output would flick between 1 and 2 as if you were at home changing channel with your remote. Very basic stuff, but more useful (if you were a Brit abroad than what it's developed into). I can remember watching BBC Breakfast, the Nine O'clock News, and NewsNight on it. We all sat in the empty hotel bar, and watched John Major's Prime Ministerial Broadcast on the day the war started
Would that have been BBC TV Europe, then, I wonder?
You're right that it does seem like it started out with the intention of serving expats/holidaymakers - but it now seems to have turned into a channel to serve the foreign audience in English. Whenever I've been abroad and seen BBC World it's not been terribly 'useful'. Great for world news - but if you want to find out what's been going on in the UK, not so much. Certainly about 10-15 years ago BBC World would almost go out of their way not to cover UK stories. I believe they've got a bit better now - whether that's because of a greater amount of simulcasting with the BBC News Channel, or just the fact that a great many major stories have emanated from Britain lately, I'm not sure.
Contrast it to CNN International, however, which has gone the other way - you'd be lucky to get a non-US story on there now!