Indeed, with a population of just over 400,000 Malta and Gozo continue to punch above their weight aided by a stable democracy, good transport links and a history of trading that goes back to the Phoenicians.
The property sector looks set to be one of the beneficiaries from this accolade – and the timing fits well with Government policies in place designed to reinvigorate residential property in this historic capital, argue agents.
Ray Woods of UK based www.maltabuyproperty.co.uk says: “Culture in all its forms has always played a big part in Maltese life and the preparations for 2018 will have spin offs for the tourism and property markets – and the economy in general.
Malta has rich cultural heritage that takes a modern form in a love of music of all kinds – some of which may stem from its proximity to Italy. Tenor Joseph Calleja is a national hero – featuring in 2012 at the Last Night Of the Proms, complete with the Maltese Cross emblem. By contrast, a regular feature of Maltese summer life is the free Isle of MTV open air concert adjoining Valletta – which each year includes international artists such as Jesse J, and an audience of over 50,000.
Film production has a long history on Malta too and older Brits will remember ‘The Malta Story’ a a classic war time love story, shot in black and white in the bombed ruins of parts of Valletta after the Second World War – and including a cast of British giants of the screen including Jack Hawkins and Alec Guinness. Part of the current regeneration of Valletta includes the building of a new open air opera house in Valletta to replace the fine building destroyed in that conflict.
More modern blockbuster films shot in Malta include Brad Pitt’s World War Z, which was released this year.
Gozo, Malta’s sister island is quieter and less excitable than its mainland sister Malta and plays host to many painters, writers and poets – as well as those who just like to get away from it all. Despite a much smaller population than the mainland, it boasts its own opera house and a busy program of song and dance festivals – and exhibitions of paintings.
“Malta and Gozo remain minnows in the international property market,” continues Ray, “but that is part of their appeal. With English as a joint first language, Malta benefits economically through trade – and also by attracting new residents, businesses and second home owners – keen to make their home alongside local people, but without the downsides of communicating in another language.”
“The newly elected Labour Government moved quickly to quell any fears of being anti-business – holding meetings with key opinion formers including property developers and agents both before and after the election. This has led to some thoughtful concessions designed to boost the property sector and aide urban regeneration.
“Other Government concessions include an easing of the residency conditions for non-EU applicants and selective tax concessions for those wishing to retire to or make their living in Malta.”
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