The city economy is based strongly, but not exclusively, on its position as a major but still emerging tourist centre. In 2014 the total contribution of travel and tourism to Croatia’s GDP was estimated at 28.3% and was projected to rise by 2.2% in 2015 and by a further 4.2% to reach 36.2% in 2025. Shipbuilding (the shipyard employs more than 2.000 people), port logistics, food, commerce, trade and conference tourism, and development of new technologies are also important economic components with the highest number of employees occupied in the wholesale, retail and public sectors. The University with 26,000 students, was established in 1974 and at the moment a new campus is in the process of construction. Because of the summer force of attraction, the city has to deal with a fluctuating seasonal activity pattern. This is particularly evident in the visitor pressure on the narrow streets and historic urban landscape of the centre, there are more than 250 cruise ship visits annually for example. This seasonal intensity is also apparent in the constant arrival and departure of ferries from the central harbour area. While this poses a number of logistic problems, the city has consciously decided that this element provides a vital animation for the experience of the Riva (the urban promenade) adding to the attraction value as real-life counterpoint to the historical landscape.
The UNESCO designated area has been virtually traffic free for many years and is characterised in Freight TAILS terms by the forward-looking solution for delivery of goods on one-man electrically operated platforms and the collection of waste by small pick up vehicles adapted to the street typology.