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Business Culture

Malta - Business Culture

Malta has a fairly conservative business culture, similar to that of the United Kingdom, with which it has a close historical association. The economy is largely based on tourism, manufacturing and foreign trade, and there are many small family-run businesses. There is a strong and stable legislative and regulatory system.

Maltese society is very family-oriented and strongly influenced by the Catholic Church. Women are generally treated on an equal basis as men in Maltese business, and many women are found in senior business positions.

If visiting Malta on business, you should make appointments in advance, and try to arrive on time, as punctuality is highly valued. Normal office hours are 8.30 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, with some small businesses closing between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and reopening later. You may prefer to visit Malta between October and May, when the weather is cooler.

Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. Most businesspeople will speak English so it is not usually necessary to have correspondence and company literature translated into Maltese, nor is an interpreter usually needed for meetings.

Business attire should be smart, with conservative suits and ties for men, and suits or smart dresses for women. Jackets are often removed in hot weather.

The normal form of business greeting in Malta is a handshake. You should address your Maltese business contacts, especially those in senior positions, by their personal (Mr, Mrs etc.) or professional titles and their family names. It is quite common to use first names in Maltese business when a good working relationship has been established, but wait for your Maltese business contact to initiate the use of first names. Business cards are usually exchanged at the initial meeting.

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