A quick comment on the real estate point brought up below.
There is one way to attract the investment without selling the land outright to foreigners -- which may not be problematic in the case of foreigners from the US or Japan, but could be in the case of selling to Italians or others from neighboring countries as it could fuel revanchism. Since it is impossible to create a law that would effectively discriminate between buyers, there needs to be a policy that is flexible that allows non-citizens to invest and have property rights without the outright need to sell the land in perpetuity.
Rather than outright selling, it could be government policy that non-citizens can only lease land for long periods.
Before everyone says no, this is basically what is done in large parts of Britain, where freeholders own the land, and sell off a leasehold for a given period. The freeholder maintains the title and ultimate rights to the property while the leaseholder has rights to use the property in certain ways that are specified under contract. Long leaseholds can be bought and sold like other property rights, and leaseholders have rights to do things like improve the property.
People in Britain and foreigners invest lots of money on these long leaseholds. In fact, in central London, where the most expensive properties are, almost all "owners" are leaseholders, not freeholders, of their properties. Even super-rich investors in multi-million pound properties are often leaseholders. [By the way, most of the freeholders in London are all descendants of aristocratic families, many who received their land from William the Conqueror after 1066, like the Duke of Westminster.]
We just got back from Croatia and thought we'd chime in regarding the
"selling off of Croatian real estate".
Check out Forbes Magazine (7/5/04) by Joshua Levine. See "The Next
Looks like Croatian real estate has been on the selling block for quite some
time; not just since the HDZ got back in office.
We don't see this as a negative. Croatia's people just don't have the money
to upgrade and improve long neglected properties. That's where foreign
investment comes in. It has certainly helped Spain's Costa del Sol and the
French Riviera. So, why wouldn't it help Croatia's economy, too?
By the way we stopped at Hvar to check out hotels for future stays. None
are above three stars. And, all still had that depressingly Titoist "market
to the masses" look. From our viewpoint, Croatia can use some foreign
investment, whether it's updating and building new hotels, or upgrading
vacation homes. It all creates jobs and brings in MONEY!!
We have thought of buying one ourselves if there are any bargains out there.
We are also looking into long-term rentals but we would want one with the
conveniences we are accustomed to. Only foreign investment can provide
Deanie and Ron in Florida
P.S. By the way, the trip was fantastic. We'll be going again.
P.P.S. Another plus that we noted. Younger and more "modern-thinking"
professionals are now working in the hospitality industry and having contact
with foreigners. This time we didn't hear any of the negativity that we
heard on previous trips (usually from the older tour guides who were still
having difficulty adjusting to the new realities). Youth will win.......and
learn to keep, if they are taught correctly.