Croatia has the fastest growing economy in Central Europe, and its biggest industry is tourism. No surprise there. However, tourism is not where all the foreign investment is going. Savvy investors are showing an increased interest in investment in Croatia in other sectors, including but not limited to: banking, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. Most foreign investment comes from Italy, Austria, and Germany, but it wouldn’t hurt for investors from the United States and Canada to get more involved. Here are some reasons why:
Starting a Business in Croatia
Croatia boasts pro-business tax legislation with agreeable incentives, such as 0% profit tax for up to 10 years in free trade zones, no customs for EU member states, double taxation avoidance and cash incentives for new jobs created. As if that isn’t appealing enough, there also aren’t any special restrictions on foreign business owners/investors. Anyone who chooses to carry out business in this country will follow the same conditions as the Croatian locals.
One large sector of Croatia’s economy is infrastructure, and the country is very proud of this. Croatia invests heavily in its seaports and cargo terminals, and is always upgrading and expanding its offers in good transportation, telecommunications, and energy infrastructure. This is, of course, important to anyone who wishes to do any business that requires shipping and logistics in the country. Not all foreign business location prospects will have such a developed infrastructure, so it’s something to consider. Also important to consider is the fact that Croatia is an EU country, and its access to its EU neighbors is also helpful.
As tourism grows in Croatia, so does its real estate market. Before long, there will be so much attention to this market that prices will likely sky-rocket. However, now is still a good time to get involved. Properties located along the Adriatic Sea and around the resort communities are already growing in value quickly, so those are likely the best areas to check first, while there is still a good portion of land still in development.
Investing in Tourism
Croatia’s historical heritage and medieval structures combine with its ideal location on the Adriatic Sea, just a few hours from pretty much anywhere you’d want to go in Europe, make it highly popular in the tourism industry. Croatia offers a plethora of things to see and do, meaning you have plenty of options if you want to get involved in the tourism sector. Visitors don’t come only to lounge on the beach. They come to visit the architecture and learn about the history, and maybe to sail and dive. It even has great eco-tourism offerings. If you wanted to start a resort or other type of tourism business there, it’s likely that whichever type you choose, there will be an audience for it.
No matter the type of investment you wish to make in Croatia, you’ll have to work directly with someone local to the country. It’s great to know, then, that most of the people in Croatia are multilingual and make up a talented and educated workforce. If your prospect is to start a business of any type, you can hire locals in this country without a language barrier issue. In fact, 34% of Croatians speak German and 14% speak Italian. Nearly half of the Croatian population speaks English, as well.
Different Sectors of Investment in Croatia
Getting involved in the country’s services sector is currently a good move, since 60% of Croatia’s GDP is made up of the services sector. Of course, tourism is at the top of the list for industries in which to invest, but it only accounts for a small segment of foreign investment in Croatia altogether. Foreign direct investment is much more prevalent in banking privatization, major infrastructure projects, shipbuilding and railways, telecommunications, construction materials, and medical equipment and consumer goods.
The upward trend of foreign investment in Croatia will only continue for so long before it levels out, making Croatia well-known for this on a global scale. Its geostrategic location in Europe allows for travel to most neighboring countries in three hours or less, and its ports are especially appealing for the business market. If you’re going to take advantage of this growing market, it is advised that you do so soon, before opportunities become more expensive with more exposure.