The Maltese islands are strategically positioned at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea. The strategic position lies in the fact that the islands lie in the crossroad between Europe and North Africa. This strategic position made Malta a valuable possession for the illustrious powers that dominated Europe in ancient times. Throughout the years, and having been governed by numerous rulers, including the Phoenicians, the Aragonese, the Romans, the Arabs, the Knights, the French and the British, Malta is today is a rich and varied country.

Malta gained its independence in 1964 and joined the European Union in May 2004. The currency used is the Euro. The national language is Maltese, a language of Semitic origin with a romantic influence. However Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English as the majority of the population can speak fluent English. Italian, French and German are spoken languages, albeit to a lesser extent.

Malta resides 80 kilometres south of Italy and 290 kilometres from the nearest point on the African coast. The area of the Maltese islands totals 316 square kilometres with slightly more than 450,000 inhabitants. The largest island is Malta and this is also the most industrial and commercial. Gozo is the secondary island and although close to Malta, it preserved its own distinct character. Malta’s capital city is Valletta. Other major commercial and entertainment villages include Sliema and St Julians.

Country Profile
Country’s full name: Republic of Malta (Repubblika ta’ Malta)
Capital City: Valletta
Population: 452,515 (as at December 2010)
Official Languages: Maltese and English
Currency: Euro, Malta joined the Eurozone January 1, 2008
Location: 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km east of Tunisia
Area: Malta is composed of three major islands:Malta Island 246 sq km (94.9 square miles)
Gozo 67 sq km (25.9 square miles)
Comino 3 sq km (1.1 square miles)
Climate: Mediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers
International Dialling Code: +356
Internet Domain: .mt
Time Zone: CET (UTC+1)
CEST (UTC+2) (Summer)
Date Format: DD/MM/YYYY


Economic Profile
GDP at current prices (annual 2011): €6,4 billion
GDP at constant prices (annual 2011): €4,8 billion
Selected Gross Value Added Contribution (2011):
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1.99%
- Information and communication 5.16%
- Financial and insurance activities 8.19%
- Wholesale and retail trade 21.89%
- Arts, entertainment and recreation 10.74%
Gainfully occupied (March 2012) 150,389 persons
Registered unemployed (as at July 2012): 6,664 persons
Persons Employed in Financial Intermediation as at March (2012) 6,822
Inflation rate 2011 (12-month moving average): 2.42%
Yearly tourist arrivals: 1.3 million
Imports of goods (2011): €5,324.60 million
Exports of goods (2011): €3,815.20 million
Foreign Direct Investment in Malta (December 2011): €12.5 billion
Research and development expenditure (2011): €42 million


National and Public Holidays
New Year’s Day 1 January
Ship Wreck of St Paul 10 February
St Joseph’s Day 19 March
Good Friday 2 April
Labour Day 1 May
Commemoration of the 1919 Uprising 7 June
St Peter and St Paul 29 June
Assumption 15 August
Nativity of Our Lady 8 September
Independence Day 21 September
Immaculate Conception 8 December
Republic Day 13 December
Christmas Day 25 December