Croatia has a population of approximately 4.5 million. One third of the inhabitants live along the seacoast or on islands. The entire coastline reaches a total length of 5,835 km, 1,777 km of mainland coastline and 4,058 km total coastline on the 1,200 islands.
Over 11 million tourists spend 56 million guest nights annually in the Mediterranean country, corresponding to 12.5 guest nights per capita which is the highest rate in the world ahead of Austria (8.4 guest nights). Tourism accounts for 21% of the gross domestic product of Croatia, also the highest figure in Europe. Spain is ranked second where this indicator is 18,2%.
The exact date of Croatia’s accession to the EU will expectedly be announced in 2011. The accession will result in significant advances in legal harmonization and the free flow of goods and services.
In countries in the Mediterranean region, accession to the EU was in all cases accompanied with a major rise in the population, particularly in the coastal zones by the sea. According to estimates, in the years following accession, the population of 4.5 million will gradually rise to 6 - 6.5 million in Croatia, predominantly leading to a growing population along the coastline.
EU accession will result in population growth and require development
The population growth will result in a significantly longer tourist season, for which Croatia is currently unprepared. The establishment of the legislative background is in progress, but the requirements, large scale development projects and investments linked to growing tourism can only be fulfilled through the involvement of substantial private capital.