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Tourism – by Slaven Reljić

The first and strongest quality of the CROATIA brand is its tourism.

In 2015 there were 12.6 million foreign tourists who visited Croatia for business or pleasure. The number is almost three times greater than the population of the whole country (4.3 million), so there is no doubt that tourism and all related services are quite a business opportunity with constantly growing potential for profitable investments.

Croatia is a land of rich historic and cultural heritage and natural beauties. A land of numerous museums, churches, ancient towns, national and nature parks inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. For centuries it has been the crossroads of different cultural influences – the West, the East, the Mid-European and the South Mediterranean spirit. And this is truly the last unspoiled part of the Mediterranean in its authenticity, ambience and lifestyle.

It is also the land of diversities. It has 1.777 km of mainland coast, 1.244 islands and islets and crystal clear turquoise waters. Leave the coast and head towards the inland and you will experience numerous mountains with walking trails, rivers, forests, plains and continental climate.

Croatian towns

Croatia is full of thousand-year old cities whose origins are often related to different legends. Traces from the ancient past, especially from the Roman Empire, are visible from magnificent Roman amphitheatre in Pula to the marvellous palace of the Emperor Diocletian in Split and Forum Romanum in Zadar.

Pre-Romanesque churches, Gothic cathedrals, Renaissance chapels, Baroque towns – the whole country is an open-air museum of different historical periods and important events. Medieval Istrian towns, situated on naturally protected hilltops, also play an important part of cultural heritage. From the outside they appear as fortresses, but from inside their walls cherish bustling medieval towns intersected with narrow, curvy streets and lively town squares and churches.

Croatian national parks

Croatia is a jewel of pure natural beauty with its eight national parks, two arboretums, as well as numerous historical parks and protected nature parks. It is indeed a green land with as many as 4.300 plants and many more animal species.

Croatian National Tourist Board

UNESCO Protected Monuments

UNESCO recognized the extraordinary value of Croatian natural and cultural beauties back in 1979, when it inscribed two of today’s best known tourist symbols, Dubrovnik and Plitvice Lakes National Park, on its World Heritage List. Along with these two jewels, UNESCO also listed the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian, built around 300 AC, from which medieval city of Split was born.

In 1997, UNESCO added the Romanesque historical centre of town of Trogir and the Early Christian Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč. The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000.

In July of 2008, the Starigradsko Plain on the island of Hvar was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for its vineyards and olive groves that have remained practically intact since the ancient Greeks first colonized it, and as such they are a unique example of the geometric land demarcation used in the ancient times.

Ministry of culture of the Republic of Croatia;  UNESCO


Where to invest in TOURISM:

Ministry of tourism of the Republic of Croatia ( has determined the Strategy for tourism development till 2020. It was approved even by the Croatian parliament in April 2013. The summary can be found here, including the investments strategy

Main tourist products defined by Tourism Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2020 are:

  1. Sun and Sea
  2. Nautical Tourism
  3. Health Tourism
  4. Cultural Tourism
  5. Meeting Industry (Business events)
  6. Golf
  7. Cycling Tourism
  8. Wine and Food Tourism
  9. Rural and Mountain Tourism
  10. Adventure and Sport Tourism
  11. Nature (Ecotourism)

Top ten foreign markets for Croatian tourism in arrivals in 2015

  1. Germany 16,7%
  2. Slovenia 9,4%
  3. Austria 8,8%
  4. Italy 8,8%
  5. Czech Republic 5,5%
  6. Poland 5,3%
  7. UK 3,9%
  8. France 3,7%
  9. Hungary 3,4%
  10. Slovakia 3,1%
  11. Others 31,5%

Due to its advantageous geographical position in mid and south-east Europe, mild climate, beautiful coast and inland as well as developed transport infrastructure, Croatia represents a perfect opportunity for strategic investments in tourism – not only in leisure, but also in business events segment.


CATALOGUE OF INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES by Croatian Agency for investments and competitiveness – AIK (Agencija za investicije i konkurentnost) is available on the following link

The last, eighth edition from December 2015 consists of 67 public and private projects from different sectors, including tourism (there are 33 projects from tourism sector – 22 public and 11 private ones). All projects from the catalogue predict a market entry of strategic partners/investors. Ninth edition of the catalogue is announced for summer 2016.

You may also find all public tourism projects in English and Croatian on the ‘AIK’ webpage  as well as the tourism sector on

For more information, please contact: or