Tourism: Croatia and Slovenia Serbian tourists want Nearly two decades ago, the countries of the former Yugoslavia fought against the Serbs. Now do everything to go to their resorts on the coast of the Adriatic Sea.
By Vesna Peric Zimonjic
Croatia and Slovenia placed large advertisements in Belgrade and other Serbian cities to attract tourists to their resorts on the Adriatic Sea area, hard hit by the recession.
"When summer hearts say, say Adriatic" reads one of the slogans. "So beautiful and so close."
The posters are photographs of Dubrovnik and Rovinj, spas southern and northern Croatia respectively, where many of the middle-aged Serbs spent their summers in youth. More than 22, 000 homes in those sites belong to residents of Belgrade.
Then, the war of independence of Croatia from 1991 to 1995, which killed 20, 000 Croatians, left bitter memories of "Serbian aggression", because they opposed the division of the country. That is the legacy that new billboards try to erase.
"It is time to leave the historical resentment receive our spas Serbs, " said the owner of the hotel Dubrovnik, Goran Strok, a tourism fair in Belgrade. "What the former president Slobodan Milosevic and other Serbian politicians did is unforgivable and should be remembered, " he said. "But the war ended and we can not change our neighbors. Serbs are also good people and it was time to reach out. Want to be Serbian tourists to Dubrovnik".
Milosevic (1941-2006) ruled Serbia from 1989 until its collapse due to a popular uprising in 2000 when he was President of the then Yugoslav Federation, and died in a prison of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Croatia needs tourists. The sector represents about 20% of gross domestic product in this country, but the Croatian Tourism Organization said there were 20% fewer tourists this year compared with the first five months of 2008.
But not only Croats are keen to attract tourists Serbs. Slovenia's message is more pragmatic. On the billboards with images of spas you can read: "The closest European sea and visa facilities, Piran, Portoroz and friends."
Slovenia is the only state in the former Yugoslavia in the European Union (EU). Serbs need a visa to enter any of the 27 members of the bloc, but the Slovenian authorities to facilitate the process in order to attract tourists to this country because they often leave many currencies.
The war left a resentment so strong in the Slovenes as Croats. The 10-day conflict in 1991 left many fewer victims.
But the Serbs are not interested in walking around the region. Many are saddened by the hatred of which have been, especially in Croatia, during all this time. It is very difficult to find positive comments about them in the press of any of the neighboring countries.
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