In recent posts, like this one I wrote about the amazing way that Malta is bringing money into the country.
Passports are small beer though!
The real boost to the economy has come from the gaming community. The internet has helped to revolutionise betting (casinos, lotteries, bingo, poker, slots, etc) and Malta has positioned itself at the front of the line to benefit.
These days, almost every betting firm worth a damn in the world has a Malta gaming license (details here). Soon enough, Malta will likely be the number one jurisdiction in the world for gaming firms. This, of course, provides employment, taxes, gaming taxes, VAT and on and on. It has been very good for the local economy. In fact, without these firms and the incomes and help they bring to the main areas, Malta would be a very different country.
Since there seems to be no reason for things to change, most Maltese hope that Europeans continue to gamble and that gaming firms continue to like Malta.
I have been writing about how the Maltese have built an economy that specialises in bringing wealth into the country from elsewhere. In a recent post I was writing about the new passport scheme.
Much more established though is the tourism sector. Essentially, if tourism has a good year, Malta has a good year. It sounds contrite, but it is that simple.
The sector is well developed now and over the years has expanded into a variety of parts of the market.
For example, there is the ‘winter sun’ segment, aimed at older people in northern Europe that can take a month away from their home and stay in a warmer climate through the winter months.
Then there are the English language students, from countries like Spain, that spend three months or so in the country and attend classes every morning and study in the afternoons.
The one thing in common with all these segments is that they need accomodation. The hotels seem to be clustered more into some parts of the island and not others. Of course, around those locations lots of bars, cafes, shops and restaurants spring up to serve that imported need.
One firm that I like the look of a lot is MyHotelsMalta. They are a locally operated chain of six hotels in great sea front locations in Sliema and St Julian’s. They are all three star, so cater to more of a budget market than the posher places, but that keeps them busy all year round! There are less people willing and able to spend 300 euros per night than there are that are able to spend 80…
A few days ago I wrote (here) about the citizenship by investment programme in Malta, known as IIP (Individual Investor Programme).
As I have been reading more about both the Maltese system and the competing schemes in other countries (both EU and beyond) I have found it fascinating.
I would never have realised that people thought to buy naturalisation, fast tracked or not, but it quite clearly is a very valuable thing to have from the right country.
Therefore, as I read more about the Maltese version (here) I came to realise what a good concept it is. I can imagine that many people do not much like the idea of passports or citizenship in exchange for money, however it is described, but I think the the concept is very good.
Since I have been writing about Malta again recently (here and here) I thought I’d share a little of my recent experiences in looking for an apartment on the island.
Firstly, it is harder than it ought to be! There are many real estate agents in Malta, perhaps too many, and theryone seems to have every property on their books. It is the strangest thing. There seems to be almost differentiation between the firms when it comes to their available stock.
Secondly, they all seem to operate in very similar ways. For example, they all seem to show viewers apartments that are significantly over the suggested budget. My thinking is that this is to make the viewer think about increasing their budget to match the expectations they now have for a nicer location. Very strange. One has taken me to see a place that was a full 500 euros per month above my budget and then said, “I doubt the owner will negotiate”. Why am I there then…?
These nicer properties all seem to be in a location called Tigne Point (information here) or Portomaso. These places seem to be very aspirational for real estate agents…
In time, I settled on a couple of agents to work with, simply because I seemed to get along better with them than some of the others. The firm I am working with mostly is based in Sliema on the sunny side of Tower Road. They all seem to be very nice in there.
Over the weekend there has been another announcement in Malta relating to the Individual Investor Programme (IIP). According to the report (here) there are now more than 200 applications in. This comes from the original firm behind the idea, Henley and Partners. There are almost certainly many more applications being made by other law firms (like this one)and consultancies.
As I mentioned in a previous post (here) Malta is very good at bringing things into the country, especially money!
With the World Cup over and those penalty shootouts lighting up screens globally, football has made another huge leap forwards in popularity.
In Europe the new season is about to start. This year there is a new team on the scene though. A technology start-up in Europe has a new fantasy football game. Oulala.com uses cutting edge technology and an algorithm of seventy data points to help understand who is actually a good player, or not.
The game is incredibly addictive and, of course, runs for the whole season. It is going to be even harder to switch off this season since Oulala updates to your phone or tablet just a few seconds after the action on the pitch. It is incredible stuff!
There are a wide range of totally overlooked types of business that the rest of us rely upon in the global economy.
One such is that of import / export. Your author is good friends with a man who runs such an operation and I would never have guessed the breadth of their impact on the economy. His firm (Tubeline.com.mt) has been a stalwart of the Mediterranean economy for decades. The amount that is passed through their hands as it moves around the world is truly impressive.
It really is something to think about. We all focus on the glamorous business models, but companies like this earn consistent profits year in and year out as they provide the grease that keeps the wheels of commerce moving.