At just 316 square kilometers, Malta is one of the smallest sovereignties in the world. But, as the saying goes, good things come in small packages and the size of the European country hasn’t stopped millions of tourists from falling in love with the country. According to the NationalStatistics Office of the Maltese Islands, in 2017, the region saw a record number of visitors. 2,273,837 tourists visited Malta in 2017, which represents an increase of 15.7% when compared to 2016. In fact, December 2017 alone saw a 14.7% increase in tourists to December 2016.
But it’s not just the charm of this tiny, not-so-hidden gem that brings all the people to Malta. The Maltese Islands have lots to offer, so let’s take a closer look at what makes them so popular.
Malta as a republic has only existed since 1974 and the state of Malta only came into existence 10 years before that, when it gained its independence from the United Kingdom. But people have lived on the islands since 5900BC and in that time, they’ve developed a fascinating history.
There are nearly 7,000 years of Maltese history to explore but some of the more popular historical locations in Malta include the Ggantija Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage-recognized temple ruins that predate the pyramids in Egypt and Britain’s Stonehenge. A more recent historical hotspot is Grandmasters Palace, which was created in 1571 and is ideal for political buffs as it holds an important place in government.
Not everyone who visits the Maltese Islands is just visiting to go on their jollies, as the region is also a business hotspot. Of those 2,273,837 tourists who visited Malta in 2017, 335,381 are believed to have been visiting for business purposes.
Despite its size, Malta has managed to cram multiple internationally-known businesses onto the island. Several of these include gaming companies like Mr Green, which offers online casino, sportsbook, live casino, and bingo games and is licensed by the Maltese Gaming Authority (though it operates globally). The online casino company is headquartered in the northern city of Silema, likely to the city’s modern feel and large commercial area, which would benefit even an online gaming-focused company like this. Malta’s free market economy and EU membership make it ideal for production companies in textiles, shipbuilding, and electronics as manufactured products represent 90% of Malta’s exports.
Maltese cuisine is similar to Italian food. So, if you like cheese, pasta, and pieces of meat, then you’re in for a treat. As a sovereignty made up of islands, there are plenty of fish dishes too.
Some of the best Maltese food on offer includes timpana, which is best described as a baked
macaroni dish; it’s a cube of minced meat, tomatoes, macaroni, onion, garlic, and cheese. Pastizzi, meanwhile, is a crispy puff pastry dish that’s filled with warm ricotta cheese or mushy peas. What’s more comforting than hearty dishes made of melted cheese? Very little, that’s what. And that’s why so many people come to Malta specifically for foods.
If you take anything from this, then it should be that Malta has lots to offer. Whether you’re a foodie, a budding entrepreneur or just someone who loves history, it’s a great place for a holiday.