Until World War II, agriculture was the most important
industry in Croatia. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a
strong expansion of the industrial sector. Prior to the
dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, Croatia was the most
prosperous and strongest industrialized part of Yugoslavia.
COUNTRYAAH, Croatia's business sector was hit hard after the war in
1991 and the three-year-long unresolved situation of regular
military clashes. This was especially true of the tourism
industry, which was well developed and very important for
Croatia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000
and the EU on July 1, 2013. A comprehensive economic reform
program has contributed to economic growth and development.
The Croatian economy is open, and this has resulted in a
number of foreign investments and ownership in energy, real
estate, banking, finance and transport.
Between 2000 and 2007, the country's gross domestic
product (GDP) increased by between four and six per cent
annually, but the economy weakened as a result of the
financial crisis in 2008-2009. Since 2014 there has been a
steady growth in GDP, thanks in part to the tourism
industry. In 2017, GDP increased by 2.8 per cent. Per capita
GDP in 2018 was USD 24,700 against USD 22,800 in 2015.
Unemployment is 12.4 per cent (2017). In 2017, inflation was
1.1 per cent.
The importance of agriculture to Croatia's economy has
dropped significantly since World War II. The war in the
early 1990s destroyed much of Croatia's cultivable land. The
agricultural area now accounts for 23.7 per cent of the
country's total area. 1.9 per cent of the working population
is employed in agriculture, which contributes to 3.7 per
cent of the country's GDP (2017). Maize, wheat, barley,
potatoes, sugar beets and vegetables are mainly grown, along
the coast also fruits. On the basis of grape cultivation,
wine is produced in large parts of the country. Animal
husbandry is considerable, with the breeding of cattle, pigs
34.4 per cent of Croatia is covered by forests, and
forestry is an important industry. The forest areas, which
are mainly state-owned, have created the basis for, among
other things, the paper and furniture industry. Croatian
oak, which is used for furniture production, is in demand in
the world market.
The fisheries contribution to GDP is about one percent
(2017). According to Eurostat, Croatia has 7553 fishing
boats operating in the Adriatic, where catches of mackerel
and sardines are of the greatest importance. Along the coast
there are 373 fish farming facilities. The main fishing
ports are Zadar, Split, Biograd, Pula, Rijeka and Šibenik.
The total catch of sea fish amounts to 69,476 tonnes (as of
December 31, 2017). On the mainland, commercial fishing is
mainly limited to the Danube and the lower part of Sava. In
lakes there are 47 fish farming facilities for trout and
carp. Fish farming on the mainland amounts to 4832 tonnes
Croatia's coal production (lignite) at Raša on the
eastern side of the Istra peninsula began in 1785. The coal
mine is now closed. Croatia has a coal plant at Plomin on
Istra, which is based on coal imports. The most important
oil and natural gas fields are southeast of Zagreb, along
the border with Hungary and in the Adriatic.
About 60 per cent of the country's electricity production
is hydroelectric, while about 35 per cent of its production
is based on fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal). There
are 25 hydropower plants in Croatia with a total output of
around 2 GW.
In former Yugoslavia, Croatia and Slovenia were the most
industrialized republics. It is estimated that around 30 per
cent of Croatia's industrial production facilities were lost
due to the war in the early 1990s.
Croatia's industrial activities now include shipbuilding
(Rijeka, Split, Pula), the aluminum industry (Lozavac,
Ražine), the iron and steel industry (Sisak), the chemical
industry (Rijeka, Split, Šibenik), the textile industry
(Zagreb, Karlovac), and not least an extensive mechanical
and electrical engineering industry in the capital Zagreb.
27.3 per cent of the working population is employed in
manufacturing, which contributes 26.2 per cent to the
country's GDP (2017).
In 2017, Croatia had exports of USD 13.15 billion, while
imports were USD 22.34 billion. With this in 2017, the
country had a trade deficit of just over USD 9 billion.
The main export goods are transport equipment, textiles,
chemicals and food. The five most important export markets
are Italy (13.4 per cent), Germany (12.2 per cent), Slovenia
(10.6 per cent), Bosnia and Herzegovina (9.8 per cent) and
Austria (6.2 per cent). The main import products are
machinery, transport equipment, various factory-produced
goods and mineral fuels. The five main markets for Croatia's
imports are Germany (15.7 per cent), Italy (12.9 per cent),
Slovenia (10.7 per cent), Hungary and Austria (both 7.5 per
Transport and Communications
The rail and road networks are relatively well developed.
The 2726 km railway network is the closest in the northern
parts of the country. The total road network is 28 788 km,
including 1146 km of motorway.
There are 69 airports in Croatia. Zagreb airport in
Velika Gorica is the country's largest airport. The main
port cities are Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Šibenik and Ploče. The
main river port is in Vukovar. In Croatia there are a total
of 785 km of waterways.
In the former Yugoslavia, about 80 per cent of tourism
was linked to the coastal areas of the Adriatic, ie the
areas which, after the division of the country, mostly
belong to Croatia. In 1989, 8.9 million foreign tourists
visited Yugoslavia, but the war at the beginning of the
1990s significantly reduced the figure.
From 2000, there has been a sharp increase in the number
of tourists to the country, and Croatia has restored its
status as a popular tourist destination. The number of
foreign tourists increased from 5.8 million in 2000 to 15.6
million in 2017. The largest number of tourists is from
Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Poland. In particular,
tourism to the islands in the Adriatic has increased.
Health tourism is also significant. There are a number of
health centers with mineral and hot springs both inland and
along the coast, including Daruvar, Lipik, Umag, Opatija,
Hvar and Makarska. A popular destination is the Plitvice
Lakes in the Plitvice National Park, where there is also
skiing in the winter.