Investment in tech brings end to cold shoulder month for Malta
Back in 2017 things looked bleak for AirMalta. Two decades of losses had left it in the red, and with such a small portion of the aviation pie in its remit, the airline faced serious questions about its survival. The islands hold an advantageous position in the Med, bridging Africa with Europe, but their future has always relied heavily on its five million annual tourists.
The operator looked hard to find a comfortable niche against giants Air France, Lufthansa, and Gulf Air – all big players in the lucrative Maltese tourism industry. Alan Talbot, the airline's chief information officer describes the AirMalta narrative as a ‘David and Goliath story’ of the air.
Just a year later however, the tiny island shifted its focus and invested in emerging technologies, including a revamp of its computer systems, redesigning them around web-based APIs. Sharing data in this way with other businesses has ultimately made it easier for them to sell what you offer as part of their own offerings. This data sharing initiative has helped cultivate a growing collaborative economy, one that encouraged businesses to look at the island in a new light.
The decision turned a profit of €1.2m and the number of passengers rose to two million. The state-owned airline has since continued to see healthy profit margins, in part because the government has continued to invest in tech as well as creating business-friendly regulation to entice companies looking for a spot to call home. The initiative has certainly worked, with big players in the industry, such as Binance, choosing Malta as a solid investment opportunity and a stable place to put down roots.
A significant portion of this success has been down to a thriving expo market. The Malta A.I. and Blockchain Summit in May brought a substantial crowd to the scene, with big names such as Noel Sharkey, Ben Goertzel, Bobby Lee, Brock Pierce, Tone Vays and Roger Ver taking to the conference podium. This year November brings a double return on investment with the Medical Cannabiz Summit and the Malta A.I. and Blockchain Summit teaming up for Malta Week. The shows will run from the 4th to the 5th and the 7th to the 8th respectively, bringing a myriad of investment and deal-making opportunities. And on the 27th to the 29th SiGMA will yet again host one of the biggest iGaming shows on the island, attracting over 12 thousand delegates.
Once a cold shoulder for companies like AirMalta, November now offers solid opportunities for businesses, bringing with it a new, diverse breed of tourism - and with continued investment in the development of emerging industries such as AI and blockchain, the trend looks set to continue its upward trajectory towards an increased economic boom.