Croatia is in Central/South-eastern Europe, bordering Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Serbia, and Montenegro. Croatia has a 1,800km coastline on the Adriatic Sea, a huge draw for the tourists who flock there every year. Most of Croatia is made up of lowlands, with the exception of areas such as the Dinaric Alps. Croatia’s climate is predominantly a warm and rainy continental climate, with mean temperatures ranging from just under freezing to around 20°C. The coast tends to be sunnier and warmer, with in excess of 2,000 hours of sunshine a year.
Croatia began to liberalise its economy upon independence, but the Civil War damaged the country a great deal. Croatia joined the WTO in 2000 and the EU in 2013. The Croatian economy stabilised rapidly and experience significant expansion until the Financial Crisis of 2007-8 greatly impacted economic growth. Although unemployment remains relatively high, GDP growth is rising steadily in recent years. The Real GDP growth rate stood at 2.9% in Q3 2016. Nevertheless, sovereign debt is at a high level, and significant work on public services and infrastructure needs to be carried out.
Croatia has a predominantly service-based economy and relies heavily on tourism. Industrial goods account for about 25% of GDP, while agriculture, forestry and fishing account for about 5%. Croatia’s main trade partners are Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Austria and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Croatia is connected by rail to the neighbouring countries of Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Serbia. Some lines have been upgraded and electrified – for example, on the Zagreb-Split line, which features tilting electric trains - while others have not changed much since before World War One.
Croatia has a network of motorways and primary/secondary roads, connecting major cities and also connecting with neighbouring countries. Croatia has several large ports, the largest of which is Rijeka. There are also several passenger ports along the Dalmatian Coast proving links between islands and coastal towns.
There are several international airports - including Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik - providing links to most major European cities as well as Turkey, UAE, Qatar and Russia.
Croatia has a relatively high rate tax regime. If a person stays in Croatia, or owns/rents accommodation in Croatia, for more than 183 days over two consecutive calendar years, they are considered tax resident. Many types of payments originating from outside Croatia are not taxable if they relate to someone who is not tax resident. Income from employment, business and real estate within Croatia is taxable. The personal tax rates range from 15% to 45%, while corporation tax is usually 20%. Tax rates may vary between municipalities. The standard VAT rate is 25%, with reduced rates of 13% and 5% on selected products.