Croatian Islands Are Open for Business

By 11 September 2018

ZAGREB, September 11, 2018 - It is worthwhile investing in the islands, but more needs to be done to make living there easier, improve access to health services and transport connectivity, create jobs and provide tax breaks for investments, a conference organised by the Novi List daily was told in the northern Adriatic town of Opatija on Tuesday.

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli explained that the intention of the new bill on the islands was to improve transport connectivity and the economy and increase investments. He underscored that data and results showed it was more than worthwhile to invest in the islands.

Investors primarily expect us to connect the islands, using a model that is best for investments, he said, underscoring that investments in the islands are about 30% more expensive and that investors expect the government to provide tax reliefs.

Speaking about possible incentives, Cappelli said that a 100% reimbursement of VAT should be introduced for investors coming to the islands, particularly in the public sector, and that attempts should be made to provide cheaper transport for investors.

The president of the management board of the Jadrolinija shipping company David Sopta explained that prices are defined by concession agreements and are determined by the state. He said that a 4% increase in transport was expected this year compared to last year and that Jadrolinija planned to renew its fleet.

Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Gabrijela Žalac said that almost 22 billion kuna had been invested in the islands from 2004 to 2017. She added that 63 projects on the islands had received more than one billion kuna in EU funds between 2014 and 2018.

The new bill is aimed at managing development, demographic and economic revitalisation, targeted management of island policy and sustainable development, self-subsistence and improving the quality of life on the islands.

Saša Popovac of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) said that in 2018, tourism turnover was registered on 48 islands which have 474,000 available beds or one-third of Croatia's capacities. The islands account for 18% of hotel capacities, 24% of camps and 28% of household facilities.

The most capacities are located on the islands of Krk, Pag, Vir and Lošinj, and every fifth tourist to Croatia in 2017 stayed on an island.