It is interesting how things are developing economically in Croatia now that people in the rest of the world have finally figured out it is safe to come here again. Plans have been afoot for some time to develop various regions with businessmen like famous Italian developer Richard Mazzucchelli prowling around Dalmatia and Istria looking for opportunities. I have long thought the best way to treat such unspoiled places was to develop them with the high end of the tourism market in mind rather than the mass tourism planned in places like Split or Dubrovnik. Never being an optimist by nature, I rather expected the truth of what would happen would result in the ghastly Disnification of Croatia’s magnificent coastline and islands, with a MacDonalds dishing out vile industrial food to the great unwashed of Europe in every village.
Well it seems that in spite of my lapsed Catholicism at least a few of my prayers are being answered. Apparently Princess Caroline of Monaco is going to be investing in an exclusive development in the national park island of Brijuni. Hopefully this will just be the first of many. It is a tricky thing balancing the need for development with not destroying the very thing people would want to see, namely the extraordinary, historic and unspoiled locations that make up so much of the country. One excellent way would be to allow more foreign investment and easy land ownership restrictions for overseas investors. The Adriatic and Mediterranean are filled with low end tourist destinations with far more infrastructure and easier communications than is going to be available in Croatia for quite a while so clearly the added value this country can provide is the very fact of its unspoiled nature for more discerning (and higher spending) foreigners. Lower impact higher value markets are surely where a good portion of our future in tourism should be and it just might be working out that way. Let us welcome ‘The Beautiful People’… they have lots of money!