No Courses Started in 10 Years, But THREE Croatian Golf Tourism Conferences in 2019

Total Croatia News


May 30, 2019 – If Croatia had a golf course for every golf tourism conference… The Croatian non-golf story takes another twist.

This is not an article about golf. 

It is an article which highlights how Croatia works. Or rather does not work. 

Most of the information in it is not new, but it serves as a benchmark for how tourism strategy is progressing in Croatia. 

Here is a snapshot of the official tourism strategy in Croatia, using slides from my recent conference presentation Investing in Croatia v Montenegro: A 15-year Foreign Resident View.


Several years ago, the Ministry of Tourism announced its seven-year strategic plan, from 2013 – 2020. It placed golf at the very heart of that strategy, as you can see from this excerpt, above. 


When I enquired last year what this meant in detail, the ministry informed me that they envisaged 30 golf courses all over Croatia, as per the explanation above. 


We are only in 2019, six years into the 7-year plan, and one should never judge a project until it has finished, but here is the state of play at the moment. 


The lack of golf course construction despite such vocal public support is nothing new. Way back in 2006, the biggest name in golf, Jack Nicklaus was welcomed to Croatia by then Prime Minister, Ivo Sanader (now in prison), and they announced a 200-million-euro signature Jack Nicklaus resort in Istria.


Fast forward to the Ministry of Tourism’s 2017 document on golf tourism, and Jack’s Porto Mariccio course is still in the planning eleven years later, but just awaiting a little paperwork. 


And, as I have written previously, despite the fact that nothing has happened on the golf front in a decade in Croatia, in order to keep the story moving, it is necessary to create some hype. Strategic plans, expensive expert reports and conferences are all excellent ways to do so. Golf is no exception, and so – despite nothing actually happening in the golf sector while tiny Slovenia has more than 4 times as many courses as Croatia (despite golf not being a key part of its strategy), and Montenegro’s Lustic Bay Gary Player course is moving ahead – the third Croatian golf tourism conference was held last month in Opatija. 

But if things are REALLY not happening, what to do? Apparently, if you hold more conferences, it makes you look even busier. With absolutely nothing having happened in this sector for a decade and Croatia looking to spectacularly miss its 30-course target by 30 courses, 2019 will see Croatia host not one but THREE golf tourism courses. The second one is next week in Porec, just 5 weeks after the last one, with the third one planned for Zapresic in October. 

Perhaps there is a target in the 7-plan for number of conferences held, in which case I bet the ministry will be over-target. 


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment