Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — More than 100 former Yugotours staff gathered for a reunion in Porec, Croatia earlier this month, more than two decades after the company closed.
Former staff travelled from Canada, Australia, Canada, Germany Italy, Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina for the trip, which included a cocktail party, a boat trip to Rovinj via the famous Lim Fjord and a gala dinner in Villa Polesini.
In the 1980s Yugotours sent close to 500,000 vacationers a year from the UK to the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The staff had in-depth knowledge of the former Yugoslavia and great relations with travel agents due to their regular regional road shows and promotions. The short flights, fantastic coastlines and attractions were a great attraction for travellers.
Well-known industry veteran Wolf Paunic knows the company well – he made his first steps in the industry with Yugotours. “Many people of my generation share nostalgia for old Yugoslavia and the great time we were giving to guests from far and wide,” says Paunic.
Paunic, now with Trafalgar, took part in the reunion event in Croatia. He worked for Yugotours as a destination rep in Ulcinj, Montenegro in 1988 and in Umag, Croatia, in 1989. Yugotours closed in 1995 due to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.
The organizers of the reunion, Joanne Purssell and Jill Jackson from the UK, worked at Yugotours head office. Dragan Djordjevic and Rajoko Marcura were involved as well.
“So many of us have stayed in touch over all these years and we have always said we would do this grand reunion,” said Purssell. “It has taken serious planning with people coming from far and wide and we are all delighted to once again be together to talk about the old days and they really were good days because Yugotours was a fantastic company to work for. Customers who enjoyed Adriatic holidays booked again and again and travel agents hugely supported the company – there was a fantastic spirit.”