"It is a sign that the global financial crisis has hit the Adriatic when Croatia is reaching out to its former enemies: for the first time since Serbian and Montenegrin forces besieged this historic port city in 1991, businesspeople here are publicly appealing to Serbian tourists to help rescue the economy.
When tourism officials from two Croatian regions, Istria and Dalmatia, sent a delegation to a trade fair in Serbia last month, people on both sides noted sardonically that economic doldrums were forcing Croats to turn to Serbs to help save them. Many here bitterly recall the 1991-1995 war, which erupted after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia; more than 10,000 Croats and Serbs died, and hundreds of thousands fled their homes.
But Goran Strok, the owner of Dubrovnik's choicest hotels, said it was time to put historical grievances aside. 'What Milosevic and Serbian politicians did was unforgivable and should be remembered,' he said, referring to Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader, whose embrace of Serbian nationalism set off nearly a decade of Balkan fighting.
'But the war is finished, and we can't change who our neighbor is,' Mr. Strok added. 'The Serbs are also good people, and the time has come to reach out to them. I want to see Serb tourists in Dubrovnik.'"
Source: International Herald Tribune