The Maltese economy is founded on industry, trade, tourism and financial services, which contribute significantly to the country’s economic development.
Despite the current economic situation in Europe, Malta continues to enjoy above-average growth in its GDP, thanks mainly to government investment in industry and the service sector, and direct foreign investment. The country continues to have a stable macroeconomic environment with low unemployment, and government deficit and debt under control.
In terms of industry, the government’s strategy has involved supporting operators’ in restructuring operations and helping them to internationalize their business, while also attracting foreign investors for high added-value export activities. Target sectors include electronics, pharmaceuticals, health, plastics and aircraft maintenance and other capital-intensive industries that offer high added-value per employee.
Growth in financial services has been unprecedented in recent years. The Maltese government wants to improve the sector’s competitive framework and consolidate Malta’s position as a benchmark financial centre, specifically in health, investment service administrative operations, software development, e-business, call centres, distance teaching, international booking systems and Electronic Exchange areas.
Tourism is another pillar of Malta's economy. The overriding strategy has been to sell Malta as an all-year-round holiday destination to attract visitors who appreciate its culture and history. There has been investment in other areas, like cruise ship tourism and conferences, as well as in other niche areas such as religious, sport and health tourism.
The online gaming industry has recently seen unparalleled growth and Malta is now home to over 300 international operators who represent 10% of the world’s online gambling sites. Similarly, there has been significant growth in information and communications technology. It is expected that the Smart City project, with an investment of more than $300 million USD to create a technological city, will transform Malta into a centre for excellence in the Mediterranean and create more than 5,000 new jobs.
The Maltese government has identified seven (7) strategic priorities for its future economic development: advanced manufacturing, creative industries, financial services, international education services, life sciences, tourism, transportation and advanced logistics.