NEW YORK -- Trafalgar Tours' Forgotten Europe, an eastern Europe
itinerary that spends two nights in Belgrade, Serbia, is not what
operators would call a top seller.
Actually, there have been no U.S. bookings for the spring-summer
tour so far, according to vice president Peter McKormack.
However, as of press time, Trafalgar had no plans to cancel
Forgotten Europe, a 17-day program that also includes Ukraine,
Poland, Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia.
"We are planning to develop more tours to eastern Europe and the
former Yugoslavia, so this tour is an investment," McKormack
"Of course, we couldn't predict that there would be daily
protests in Belgrade when we came up with Forgotten Europe," said
McKormack, referring to continuing demonstrations against the
nation's president in Serbia's capital .
He added that if the protests had not erupted, the tour would
have attracted a "fair number" of Americans.
Agents would be hard-pressed to find Belgrade in other U.S.
Unlike neighboring Croatia, which attracted millions of tourists
to its coastal resorts before war broke out in Yugoslavia in 1990,
Serbia was a less-traditional tourism destination for
Then there is Serbia's negative image in the U.S. as a result of
Explaining Trafalgar's decision, McKormack said the firm sells
to other English markets besides the U.S. that tend to be less
skittish about returning to former war zones.
Americans comprise 39% of Trafalgar's clients; the remainder
come from Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and
other English-speaking markets.
Tours to eastern Europe have been among Trafalgar's most popular
But McKormack acknowledged that it might take a few years before
Americans got used to Serbia as a vacation destination.
"Americans are more conservative than many nationalities when it
comes to travel," he said.
"After the [Persian] Gulf war, it took several years before
Americans felt comfortable traveling outside of their country; it
took Australians one week."