With political changes on a local level in the nation’s capital and a booming tourism season, Croatia keeps defying the odds and making good progress despite an ongoing global pandemic, according to Cipcic-Bragadin Mesic & Associates Partner Marina Mesic.
“As far as the political situation in the country is concerned, I think that the most interesting issue this year is the change of Zagreb’s mayor,” Mesic begins. Earlier this year, long-time Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic passed away, three months before local elections were to take place. “Bandic has been tied to a great number of corruption affairs and machinations, for the past 20 years. The citizens of Zagreb, desiring change, elected Tomislav Tomasevic, a green, for the new mayor.” According to Mesic, Tomasevic is promising a number of changes, including increasing transparency and battling corruption, nepotism, and the financial issues and existing debt of Croatia’s capital.
Furthermore, Mesic reports that the Parliament has recently passed an amendment to the law that aims to regulate and shape the way in which Zagreb is to be repaired, following last year's earthquake. “The reconstruction works are yet to start and the law was amended twice, with the latest change directing the city and the country to bear the full cost of repairs,” she says.
Most of the damage to the yet-to-be-repaired capital of Croatia is in the city center, which is dotted with old buildings that are, for the most part, Zagreb's cultural heritage. “Given that, as well as a number of high-end real estate, tourist attractions, and the like – reconstruction works have attracted the attention of a great number of potential investors,” Mesic reports. “So far, the prices of real estate in Zagreb are holding level, regardless of the damage, even with some buildings being rendered uninhabitable,” she continues. “What’s more, some prices are actually surging!”
Finally, talking about the economy, Mesic reports good news. “The economy is doing well and our GDP has grown in the second quarter, showing a recovery trajectory for Croatia,” she says. In large part, according to Mesic, this has to do with a record-breaking tourist season. “Even the more remote islands were extremely well-visited, like Lastovo and Vis. Also, with the Peljesac bridge finally being finished, it is to be expected that the Peljesac peninsula and the islands around Korcula and Mljet will keep developing, in the tourism sense,” she says. “Additionally, the construction sector has been doing well until recently, especially following the reconstruction efforts to both Zagreb and other cities struck by last year’s earthquakes. Now, with the increase in the prices of construction materials, activities have somewhat dropped, but I hope that this situation will not prove to be the new norm,” Mesic concludes.