Lastovo is located 100.42 km and 90.58 km from the Italian and Croatian coasts, respectively, which has made the island a long-standing site of geo-strategic importance in the Adriatic Sea. The island was settled and occupied by many regimes from both coasts, the effects of which show in nearly every manifestation of daily life, from planning to even the language.
Most unique of Lastovo features is its interior oriented planning, which differs from all other islands in the Adriatic where the largest, most developed, and oldest developments are typically oriented towards the sea. While there are legends as to the reason why, by the 12th century islanders moved to the interior of the island, where they settled on one of the higher island peaks and sprawled downward into the main valley and low-lying areas of the island. As such, economic activity and traditional subsistence-based living revolved around service and land-based systems before the development of sea-based operations.
Current day economic activities are focused in traditional island sectors of agriculture, fishing, and, most prominently, tourism. However, like most Croatian islands, tourism is highly seasonal. During off-season months, the island is active within the public sector and a small scattering of private businesses, mostly utilized by the small island population. Tourism is ironically most productive in its marine-based activities such as sailing, yacht, diving, and other nautical activities, fishing, and tourism package activities that showcase the archipelago as a whole. Camping and other land-based activities are present on the island, though nowhere near the extent of its nautical sector.
As a remote island with a small insular community that had little un-deliberate contact from the outside, historically, the use of resources on the island has largely been subsistence-based, while translates into today as a lush, green environment with incredibly rich biodiversity on both lands and in the sea. However, the advent of mass tourism has resulted in a shift in priorities and perspectives on the preservation of the natural environment, as building and development, specifically around the coast, has risen. The effect of tourism is more sudden and, thus, potentially more disruptive on LA than in other Adriatic islands, an effect likely caused by LA history as a military site for various regimes, which retarded a steady growth process. All Croatian islands are grappling with tourism demand. However, an island under the description of LA, of which there are only a few in the Adriatic, has an additional hurdle as it is contending with the same demand and none of the structure that is only possible with sustained response and reaction to the gradual growth of tourism visitors. Despite the uptick in development and response to tourism, the island is still highly biodiverse and will require guidance in prudent spatial and conservation planning practices to ensure that this description remains.