BUSINESS

Malta, population equal to Bucharest quarter, draws 1.3 M tourists annually

Malta could teach Romania a thing or two about tourism. Although not blessed with as friendly a climate and as varied a geographical relief as Romania, Malta, with a population of approx. 400,000 inhabitants, managed to draw 1.3 million tourists last year, bringing an extra EUR 1.1bln to the Maltese budget. Indeed, tourism accounts for approx. 20 to 25 of GDP in this small country, only about 20 pc bigger than Bucharest’s surface, according to the Maltese Tourism Authority. Most of the tourists visiting Malta come from Europe (nearly 95 pc), especially from the United Kingdom (Malta was once a British colony, which is why the second official language in Malta is English and a lot of Brits own holiday homes here; in fact, Malta is one of the few countries where cars have the wheel on the right), Italy or Germany. Romanians have also taken a liking to Malta, so that, at present, approx. 7,000 Romanian tourists visit the land of the Knights Hospitaller.

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