Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday that investments in Croatia this year would amount to €2 billion, the highest amount yet to be invested in the country in a single year.
"Last year investments totalled around €1.8 billion, and this year the amount will rise to €2 billion, which means that this year Croatia will have the highest investments yet in one year. This way, we are set to achieve economic growth," Plenkovic said in the southern town of Makarska, in a special town council meeting marking the city's day.
Plenkovic said Makarska is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Croatia, and that this fact contributed to this year's good business results posted by the national tourist industry.
"This year, Croatia will have a record breaking and most successful tourist season yet. We expect that by the end of the year there will have been about 19.5 million tourist arrivals, 106 million bed nights, which will translate to revenues of more than €12 billion. Makarska has certainly contributed to that," Plenkovic said.
He added that this year's tourism numbers confirmed that the industry - which accounts for 20 percent share of the national GDP - is "one of the key branches for Croatia's economic development, especially in terms of revenues for the national budget, which generated a surplus (in 2017) of 3.15 billion kuna (€424.5 million)."
"And if it wasn't for the situation in shipbuilding, the surplus would be at least the same again this year," Plenkovic said, referring to a report presented earlier on Wednesday by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, which talked about the impact on the national budget due to costs of covering state-issued bank guarantees for cancelled contracts at the collapsing Uljanik Group shipbuilding company.
Plenkovic also welcomed measures designed to spur population growth implemented in Makarska.
"Makarska grants a one-off 2,500 kuna (€337) subsidy for every newborn and for every second child born, which increases to 3,500 kuna (€472) for every next newborn after that. That means that the town is taking into account a key problem that besets the Croatian society at large, and the Croatian people at the moment. I believe that through a combination of national-level and local-level measures we will achieve some progress in terms of positive birth rates and demographic revival," Plenkovic said.
(€1 = 7.42 kuna)