Tourism is now Croatia's largest industry, accounting for 12.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year. This is seen rising to 17.1 percent over the next 10 years.
Around 12.9 million tourists visited last year, with the country a hotspot for holidaymakers from Germany and nearby Italy and Slovenia (another Yugoslav successor state), as well as Russians and other Europeans.
The government hopes tourism will help Croatia recover from a near six-year recession, and plans to invest 7 billion euros ($9.5 billion) in the industry by 2020, creating up to 32,000 jobs.
New Balearic Islands?
There are doubts, though, about the expansion underfoot, with the high-rise sprawl of Spanish resorts like the Costa Brava illustrating the perils of ill-development.
Read MoreMeet sluggish Club Med's easterly member: Croatia
"We have to preserve all this beauty, but also turn it into money. If it is all concrete, we are going to have a new Balearic Islands of Spain—that is not the nicest spot. I have been there and would not like to repeat the experience," said Emil Tedeschi, the CEO of Atlantic Grupa, a Croat multinational consumer goods company.
He said that massive sums had been spent on building hotels, but not on necessary infrastructure like water and sewage systems, nor the marinas and petrol stations needed for yachts.
"I would stop all building for two years, and just spend it thinking, planning and designing," Tedeschi added.