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Malta has a rich history spanning over 7 millenaries and has often played a crucial role due to its strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea.
Over the years, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Spanish, the French, the Italians and the British have ruled the islands.
The main business language in the Maltese islands is English.
For official purposes, both Maltese and English are recognised and given equal status and use in Government.
Maltese is of Semitic origin written in Latin script. Over the centuries and the various dominations, it has incorporated words derived from English, Italian and French.
Malta’s climate is typical of the Mediterranean, with mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. The archipelago enjoys 300 days of sunshine per year, with a daily average of 6 hours’ sunshine in mid-winter, to more than 12 hours in summer.
The island’s small size facilitates everything on a daily basis from a day at work to relaxation at the beach. Archaeological sites, cultural monuments and other historical treasures attract people to discover the Maltese history. For those who enjoy nightlife activities,, many bars, restaurants, cafes, discotheques and casinos offer a large range of choices.
Many sporting activities can be enjoyed including tennis, golf, sailing, windsurfing, horse riding and diving. During summer every locality celebrates its parish patron saint during the village feast.
Everything in Malta is close and easily accessible. Living in Malta is a unique experience, especially for those used to hectic city environments and long travels between work and home. The island’s small size and wealth of entertainment options mean that in Malta, it is possible to have everything in one day, being a day at work, a good work out, and relaxation at the beach.
Malta offers many archaeological sites, cultural monuments and other historical treasures. For those who enjoy the nightlife, Malta also offers many bars, restaurants, cafes, discotheques and casinos. Many sportive activities can be enjoyed throughout the year including tennis, golf, sailing, and windsurfing, horse riding and diving. Malta boasts a packed calendar of cultural events throughout the year including art exhibitions, classical performances, plays, and concerts. During the summer months, a visit to a Maltese ‘festa’ is a must, with every village or town celebrating its parish patron saint involving village decorations and fireworks.
Malta’s Mediterranean cuisine is as healthy as it is tasty. Domestic menus are often set by seasonal food items, particularly aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, and courgettes, together with freshly caught fish. Typical year-round dishes include rabbit and bragoli (beef olives), served with the renowned local bread baked in a traditional wood-burning stone oven. However, one finds numerous restaurants in Malta which provide menus including Italian, French and Asian cuisine.
Residents can enjoy an exceptional standard of living and the very low criminal rate of the country allows Malta to be a safe country to live in and an ideal place to relocate.
Malta imports machinery and transport equipment, chemical products, and mineral fuels. The country’s main export products are semiconductors, but it also exports other manufactured goods and refined petroleum. Italy, the U.S., Germany, France, the U.K., and Singapore are Malta’s major trading partners.
Services account for about half of Malta’s GDP and employ about three-fifths of the labour force. Tourism is a major source of income and follows a seasonal pattern, with June through October being the peak season. Some notable tourist sites include the ancient megalithic temple Ġgantija on Gozo and the temples of Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra, and Tarxien on Malta; this group of temples was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980. Also on Malta are spectacular medieval castles and cathedrals, as well as the ancient inland capital of Mdina. Tourism has had a major impact on the natural environment of the Maltese islands, and the government has attempted to promote ecotourism.
Labour and taxation
The majority of Malta’s workforce is employed in the manufacturing and services sectors. Women make up about one-third of the workforce. The public sector is to a very large extent unionized. In the private sector, most large enterprises are unionized. Malta has two chief labour unions—the General Workers’ Union, Malta’s largest union, and the Union of United Workers—as well as a confederation of smaller sectoral unions, each of which came into being around the mid-20th century. Although unions are independent of political parties, they have tended to occupy a central role in national issues and at times have operated on the basis of the party affiliations of their members.
The bulk of government tax revenue comes from a progressive income tax system. There is a value-added tax on consumer goods and services. Taxes on real-estate transactions also contribute to government revenue.