Touchdown in the land of honey

By | Travel
St. Pauls cathedral, Malta.

Over the weekend some of the world leaders gathered on the island of Malta to discuss subjects surrounding climate change and security. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (COHGM) takes place every two years in various Commonwealth countries around the world. This is the second time Malta has hosted the COHGM in ten years, as the meeting is rotated by invitation amongst its members. According to the COHGM official website, this years meeting aims to make a productive improvement to the lives of Commonwealth citizens and unify the Commonwealth countries to add global value. This meeting may cast a global spotlight on Malta as the island aims to provide a platform for Commonwealth countries to unite and build bridges of cooperation.

One of three small islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta seems to be developing into an innovative cultural location. Valletta, the capital of Malta, was declared European Capital of Culture in October 2012 and aims to host the title in 2018. In addition to this, Malta was recently voted by expats as one of the finest places to live in a survey conducted by InterNations. In the survey, Malta scored highest in the Working Abroad Index, due to high job satisfaction amongst survey respondents. As Malta was once a British colony and 40% of the survey respondents are British, language barriers were not considered a concern for the majority of the respondents.

David Cameron at CHOGM 2015.

David Cameron at CHOGM 2015.

Therefore, Malta has seen to have been a popular location for British expats, who may be drawn to the island by the warmer climate, natural beauty and historical links to the United Kingdom. There are many sites of interest which may attract tourists, expats and locals alike to visit. According to Malta’s tourist board, there are over 360 churches and chapels dispersed across the island, one for every day of the year. There are many areas of heritage and culture to be explored, such as the 16th century Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, which is now a conference centre. Furthermore, there are a number of archaeological sites on the island which may attract visitors, such as the Megalithic Temples which have been declared by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Sites.

Malta may be of particular interest to outdoor lovers, due to its scenery and favourable weather conditions year round. The island offers plenty of sandy beaches for those who are fond of being near the sea and the clear water makes activities such as scuba diving or snorkelling available to enjoy. Perhaps one of the archipelago’s most recognised natural landmarks is the Azure Window rock formation, situated on Dwejra Bay. It is one of the most photographed attractions in Malta and is popular for divers due to the abundance of marine life nestled around it.

The blue grotto, Malta. Credit@creativecommons

The blue grotto, Malta. Credit@creativecommons

Besides the natural beauty of the island, Malta offers an all-year-round calendar of events, featuring art exhibits, contemporary performances and jazz nights. The country has several theatres, including the Aurora Opera House for lovers of classical music, and the Manoel Theatre for the performing arts lovers. The island also hosts many annual festivals, such as the Arts Festival in the summer, the Jazz Festival in July and Malta’s Fireworks Festival in spring. Continuing on the theme of culture, in October each year the cityscape of Valletta lights up during the annual Notte Bianca. This annual event is a nocturnal celebration of people, culture and arts, where the streets play host to a variety of entertainment. During this time, cafes and restaurants extend their opening hours and museums open their doors for visitors to enjoy art exhibitions and theatre performances.

There may be something for everyone to enjoy in Malta, which may be the reason why this archipelago ranks so highly as an attractive country for expats.

What motivational factors influence people to become expats?


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