Croatia boasts a coastline of 1,777km in addition to 718 islands and 467 islets and reefs, so on the whole the country stretches along over nearly 6,000km of what it is appreciated as one of the most beautiful cruising grounds. This scenery is the major driver of the upbeat demand of charter boats, which as a result triggers new boat sales in the country. The market, however, remains challenged by the lack of world-class marine infrastructure.

“Many companies have their operation based around marinas,” Branimir Mader of the Croatian chamber of Economy explains. “Croatia offers a total capacity of 17,350 berths on water and about 5,000 berths on dry storage,” he points out, adding that the Adriatic coast of Croatia is popular with the charter market and therefore there is a concentration of marinas. “In the north you won’t find these sorts of private facilities, but public ports are in operation all along the coast with moorings that are free to use,” he says.

Mader told IBI that the government is aware that excessive red tape for granting permission for developing marinas in Croatia is one element that needs changing if the country wants to take full advantage of its boating potential. “We need more investment in marinas because our infrastructure is very old,” he said, adding that the laws for the maritime domain and public ports need to be changed in order to attract investment. “We also have to continue with the plan developed for the 2009- 2019 period to build 15,000 more berths in nautical ports and to date we have built about only 400.”

Note: This is an excerpt of the country report published in the April/May issue of IBI magazine. Subscribers of IBI Plus can download the full report.