Subscribe to Blog Updates

Tourism & ED Meet Again…in Croatia

  Whitney Daly     Jul 14, 2016

Atlas intern Matt Boselli recently traveled to Italy and Croatia for a study abroad endeavor. Through his lens, we see just how paramount tourism can be in shaping – and re-building – an entire country. His travels show us, firsthand, the impact that tourism has on a country’s ability to regain economic strength and become a player in a national and international ecosystem.

In 1995, Croatia finally declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. After a five year war against both the Yugoslav People’s Army and the Serbian Army, Croat forces broke free of the socialist reform, but only after a total of 20,000 deaths and a crushed economy. Looking forward, Croatia had an estimated $37 billion mountain to climb in order to see their economy again where it once was.

[The widely kept secret of a country is still scattered with bomb shelled buildings, war torn towns, and locals traumatized by fighting among friends and brothers who used to live on the same street.]

While economically trying to bounce back from such a devastating war in their homeland, the Croats have found tourism to be their saving grace in the last three or four years. After seeing a record low 54,742 tourist arrivals in February of 2000, the country began to see an upward trend in visitation; a trend that may be their answer to finally climbing out of the economic hole and eventually joining the European Union. In August 2015, Croatia welcomed 3,617,662 tourists, marking an all time high for the country.

With more than a thousand islands – and croatia-1.jpgmultiple cities that continue to grow beyond locals’ belief – this blossoming country is on the rise to becoming any traveler’s must-see location. Tourists are flocking to the area for the vineyards, local fruits, daily markets (fish and crops), beaches, and sunsets that will leave you in love with this (not-so) new destination.

Split is a booming coastal city, resting on the Adriatic Sea and allowing short ferry trips to multiple island getaways. A southern coastal drive through the Dalmatia region leaves you in Dubrovnik, a historical city surrounded by a massive wall meant to keep out the centuries of land-croatia-2.jpghungry armies that have invaded.

To the north is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, shared with Italy and Slovenia; it’s the perfect place for a mountain view of the sea. If you travel to the northeast, you can find the “Paris of Croatia.” Zagreb is a slow, Italian-paced city that won’t disappoint a shopaholic or a runway wannabe.

The film industry has played an integral role in showing the world what Croatia has to offer. Over the past couple of years, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and other productions have relied on Croatia’s scenic and artistic assets. Taking advantage of century old castles, palaces, cathedrals, and water ports, the film industry is slyly showing the world what has been hiding in this beautiful country since the end of World War II.


See other ways tourism and economic development entities are achieving cross sector collaboration. Our recent webinar showcases the two industries breaking down silos to strengthen individual efforts while simultaneously contributing to the success of the other.

Mixing Business with Pleasure webinar slides

Mixing Business with Pleasure webinar recording (first in playlist)

Tags  Economic Development Tourism tourism marketing destination marketing economic impact

Written by Whitney Daly


see all