Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, May 4, 1999 Published at 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK

Montenegro - forgotten casualty of war

Montenegro's beautiful Adriatic coast was a favourite spot for celebrities

By Brian Barron in Budva on the Adriatic coast in Montengro

In the old Yugoslavia, Montenegro was one of the main tourist areas, the preferred holiday spot for some of the world's rich and famous.

Kosovo: Special Report
But all that has collapsed. Now the government is appealing for international help, and is warning of an economic crisis which could destabilise the country.

For a generation of British and European tourists the port of Budva, on a beguiling stretch of the Adriatic, has been a favourite destination. But not today.

To the north and south coastal targets are pounded by Nato and one resident tells me: "When I hear sirens I feel panic - it just seems to be calm and peaceful."

Tourism hopes dashed

Watch Brian Barron's report
Now Budva is a holiday mecca isolated by sanctions and closed frontiers. Hopes were running high that tourism in Montenegro would be reborn this summers, but that prospect has been wrecked by conflict over Kosovo.

The economic situation is so grim that fishing has become the only way that Christo Niklanovic, Budva's top restaurant owner, can survive:

[ image: Budva used to buzz with tourist activity - now it is deserted]
Budva used to buzz with tourist activity - now it is deserted
"You can see there is almost nobody on the streets. Everything is empty. Everybody is afraid - for their families and for their future. Because of the bombing we are close to the end."

Even the seaside funfair struggles to make a dinar as Montenegro pays for being a minor partner in Milosevic's Yugoslav federation.

Budva's mayor told me there hasn't been a collapse of tourism on this scale since World War II. The loss of revenue could even imperil Montenegro's stability.

[ image: The island of St Stephan was a favourite of Sylvester Stallone and Sophia Loren]
The island of St Stephan was a favourite of Sylvester Stallone and Sophia Loren
At the other end of the bay, one of world's most exclusive resorts is closed. In past years stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Sophia Loren stayed on St Stephan's island - now only essential maintenance is under way, carried out by Montenegran draft dodgers.

These men have come to Budva to escape being called up by the Yugoslav army. One man told me "Milosevic has made too many mistakes - first Bosnia, now Kosovo - so why should Montenegro suffer?"

Yet suffering it is because this fabulous coastline has become a forgotten casualty of war.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

28 Apr 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Unease in Montenegro

26 Apr 99 | Europe
Montenegro warns of destabilisation

23 Apr 99 | Europe
Montenegro debate hots up

04 Apr 99 | Kosovo
Analysis: Montenegro under threat

02 Apr 99 | Europe
Nato warns Milosevic off Montenegro

Internet Links


Serbian Information Ministry

Montenegro links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Winter halts search for Kosovo victims

Prominent Serb shot in Kosovo

K-For 'lacks will' to protect Serbs

Nato chief: No single ethnic Kosovo

US general condemns French 'red card'

Losing Kosovo but keeping power: Sloba and Mira

Nato embassy attack 'not deliberate'

Serbian opposition settle differences

From Sci/Tech
Balkans environment 'seriously damaged'

UN chief makes first Kosovo visit

Kosovo mass grave uncovered

Aid linked to Milosevic removal

New K-For leader looks to rebuild

Freed Britons arrive home

Violence flares in Kosovo

Draskovic attends crash victim's funeral

Kosovo mass grave unearthed

Kosovo Gypsies stranded on border

Yugoslavia slams KLA deal

Nato assesses Kosovo lessons

Montenegro sues for 'coup'

From Health
Babies die in Kosovo aftermath

Pope calls for Balkan harmony

Kosovo Corps - an army for Kosovo?