BUSINESS | LIFESTYLE | DESIGN
The TOURISM issue Issue 19 June/July 2013
â‚Ź5 WHERE SOLD
Exclusive top golfer Martin Kaymer Gavin Gulia MTA Chairman
Promoting Gozo New York designer Craig Wroe
The best way to predict the future is to create it
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Welcome We are all tourists – after all, we travel and experience other countries and inevitably compare them to our national offerings. More than that, we mostly work in industries which are either directly related to or else depend on the tourist industry. In this issue of Money, we focus on one of Malta’s main industries, tourism, which for the past years has – despite harsh competition and an economic downturn which has heavily affected neighbouring economies – constantly increased figures. Yet we must not engage in protracted backslapping because, as former tourism minister Dr Michael Refalo writes, tourism is a fickle, ever-changing industry and we must always keep one step ahead. Moreover, every administrative decision impacts the industry. The new Malta Tourism Authority Chairman Dr Gavin Gulia explains how he intends to level out the arrivals more evenly across the year – this, in turn will make tourism more sustainable and help create more full-time jobs. Moreover, he is working hard to tap into new niche markets. Gozo also plays an important role in the industry. However, we must not see it as yet another Maltese offering. Rather, as marketer George Larry Zammit argues, Gozo has its own identity which must be promoted through a concerted effort by all stakeholders. In this issue of Money, we also meet golfer Martin Kaymer. Ranked as number one golfer at just 27 years of age, Kaymer recounts how he fell in love with the sport and how he helped Europe successfully retain the Ryder Cup. We also meet New York-based designer Craig Wroe, who has just transformed an 1860s rowhouse into a glamorous space, and Kris Micallef, whose latest exhibition tells the tale of two cities. Read on and enjoy.
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June/July 2013 10 The arrivals of a new man
32 Destination Gozo
The new Malta Tourism Authority chairman Dr Gavin Gulia explains his plans to Vanessa Macdonald.
How should Gozo be promoted? George Larry Zammit outlines the challenges of destination marketing.
13 The realities of a mythical island
36 Searching for Google
Gozo needs to keep its distinct yet complimentary identity, Paul Scicluna, Chairman of the Gozo Tourism Association tells Andrea Faye Christians.
Does a huge market share make Google a good buy, ask Chris Grech and Calvin Bartolo.
17 Having a good game Patrick Debattista explores two completely different sectors in the Maltese economy: tourism, which has been at the heart of Maltese society for decades; and iGaming, a relatively new phenomenon with bright prospects ahead.
20 See the sea We have so many opportunities to strengthen Malta as a yachting destination, says Georges Bonello DuPuis. All we need is determination and investment.
29 Onions and hot potatoes Steering Malta’s tourist industry is like conducting an opera. Just beware of the false notes, says Michael Refalo.
31 Heading which way? Diversity in the tourist industry is beneficial, but fragmentation is dangerous, says Reuben Buttigieg.
42 Dalmatian hot spot Croatia is preparing to become the 28th member state of the European Union. So why isn’t it in a celebratory mood, asks Money.
44 Rowhouse realness New York City-based interior designer Craig Wroe takes Sean Patrick Sullivan on a tour of his latest creation.
46 Club man Money joins top golfer Martin Kaymer on the green.
48 A tale of two cities For photographer Kris Micallef, the story of two cities is written in stone.
60 The deer hunter Mona Farrugia enjoys the thrill of the hunt in Mauritius.
62 The Bluesman’s blog People shop till they drop. Others drop dead. The Bluesman survives another month in New York.
Money is published by BE Communications Ltd, 37, Amery Street, Sliema, SLM 1702 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in Money are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome but cannot be returned without a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The editor is not responsible for material submitted for consideration.
8 - Money / Issue 19
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The arrivals of a new man
The new Malta Tourism Authority chairman Dr Gavin Gulia explains his plans to Vanessa Macdonald. Photos by Marc Casolani.
f there is one word which would best describe Gavin Gulia’s focus during his term as chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority, it is “seasonality”. He is determined to level out the arrivals more evenly across the year, as he believes that this will make the tourism industry more sustainable and more able to generate fulltime employment. “What I am after is a better distribution of numbers across the year as this will help the quality of employment in the industry. Much of it is parttime and you cannot blame the operators for this – they have to look after their profits as
10 - Money / Issue 19
that is what fuels investment and in turn long-term sustainability,” he explains. The solution is by no means a new one and in the past years tourism has focused on niche markets like diving, culture, religion and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibitions) business. Indeed, the island has seen some success in levelling out the peaks and troughs of seasonality, but Dr Gulia says there is still more that could be done. “We certainly have not reached the level where we can afford to be complacent. We need to look at markets
outside the EU, for example, perhaps using Air Malta routes to sustain them,” he says. It is impossible to discuss why the tourism sector has survived and grown without discussing the role of Air Malta and of low-cost carriers, particularly Ryanair, to which Dr Gulia attributes the nearly consistent growth since 2006. The national airline remains crucial to the island’s economy, still handling almost half of all tourists, but that still leaves over a third who opt for low-cost carriers. “The figures for the past few years have been very
good. New airline routes have improved access which in turn has had a positive impact on numbers. The survival of Air Malta is important but I think we all acknowledge that low-cost carriers are valuable partners. I know that there was initial political resistance but the lobbyists in their favour were proved right,” he admits. “All you have to do is to look at the way in which the tourist markets have changed. Thanks to the Ryanair routes to Italy, this market has now overtaken Germany and moved into second place – and with the new route to Bergamo, it should help even
Vanessa Macdonald is a freelance journalist in her spare time, covering a wide range of lifestyle and economic issues.
“We certainly have not reached the level where we can afford to be complacent.” more as it will serve the area around Milan.” Of course, Air Malta’s hands are – so to speak – tied by the European Commission’s restrictions on its restructuring, but Dr Gulia believes that the changes already made, such as the reduction in frequencies of some flights, has helped the airline to reach stability, with improved revenues and losses shrinking slowly but surely. Another area that he believes in is cruises. This sector tended to get overlooked for years because cruise passengers do not stay overnight and therefore do not qualify as tourists – but Sam Mifsud changed that during his time as chairman, when he put his family’s experience in this area to good use. However, after years of stellar growth, Dr Gulia is worried by the departure of MSC Cruises and says that the MTA is working closely with VISET, the operator of the cruise terminal, to find solutions and ensure no more business is lost, and that business already lost is replaced. He is quick to praise the work done by his predecessors – but he reserves his highest praise for the Chief Executive Officer, Josef Formosa Gauci,
who has during his tenure there imposed stability and foresight after turbulent years of somewhat kneejerk reactions each time a new person came into the picture. This is particularly true when it comes to marketing and branding. The €25 million budget is now well established, with overseas managers doing a “fantastic job”, and a mixture of long-term planning and quick reactions to situations which require an immediate response – such as the withdrawal of a tour operator or the cancellation of a route. With more and more tourists opting to book their own holidays online, the role of the MTA website is clearly increasingly important. Dr Gulia promises that there are new initiatives being assessed for www.visitmalta. com, which has some 800 pages of information about the island. “We have a very proactive team who are looking at the website and social media. Change is important. We plan to update our online marketing strategy,” he says. Another area that he intends to beef up is enforcement as he believes strongly that any attempts to attract tourists and encourage investment by the sector could be so easily
undermined by poor service and illegal activity, for example. “I want to see a resolute, determined compliance effort – but a humane one with an emphasis on education. I know from my work as a lawyer that legal action should be the last resort as it takes up so many resources to go to court. I believe that the key is training as the enforcement officers need the right tools and skills,” he says. “I also need the help of the industry. For example, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants
Association has repeatedly complained about unlicensed holiday flat rentals but they have to be on our side. I intend to set up an ad hoc mechanism with MHRA that will target this problem,” he says, noting that he had not yet had the time to meet the association. And what about his own role? “I’m a practicing lawyer so I am in Valletta anyway and I come into the office nearly every day,” he said. “It’s a part-time position but a fulltime commitment.”
Money / Issue 19 - 11
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The realities of a mythical island Gozo needs to keep its distinct yet complimentary identity, Paul Scicluna, Chairman of the Gozo Tourism Association tells Andrea Faye Christians.
The topic du jour is the potential bridge connecting Malta to Gozo. Aside from its feasibility, has any study been conducted to see whether Gozo will lose potential EU funds, gained on the strength of its island region, if the bridge is eventually built? As far as we are concerned, we are not aware that any studies related to loss of EU funds if Gozo is connected by a bridge were conducted. However we are given to understand that if a permanent link connects Gozo with Malta, then the double insularity and the special needs arguments will not hold any longer. Thus Gozo stands to lose funds based on its special needs since it is an island region.
bureaucracy. How will the GTA encourage further development in this segment? The GTA has always argued that the one size fits all concept cannot be applied to Gozo. This is the basic argument that we have been putting forward to Government in order to encourage community-based tourism. Furthermore we have put forward proposals to Government to introduce the one stop shop concept with regards to all the tourism establishments in Gozo. Here we are talking about hundreds of small businesses, which are family run and therefore do not have the human resources to carry out the chasing of our bureaucratic system.
Gozo’s main attraction is its island status - over the centuries, it has developed an identity of its own, charmingly different from that of Malta. Doesn’t a bridge threaten this identity? The charm deriving from the natural beauty and character of Gozo can be easily threatened and lost both with a bridge or without it. This depends totally on the competent authorities who control certain development. In our opinion, if Gozo were to be physically connected to Malta, the present appeal of Gozo would definitely be threatened.
Gozo has also been a pioneer of attracting tourists through beautiful narratives – from the Calypso myth to the Ggantija temples. How do you propose to market Gozo? Presently, we are promoting and marketing Gozo through its different niches. These vary from walking and opera to diving, carnival, gastronomy, wellness, adventure activities and religious tourism. Gozo is not a mass-market destination and therefore our marketing approach is to target selective markets. Furthermore all these niches can help us attract and bring over tourists in the lean and winter months. Thus the niche marketing approach can help us mitigate the seasonality problem.
In the past years, Gozo has pioneered community-based tourism. Yet recently, operators of community-based tourism have been complaining that they were being hindered by an excessive administrative burden and
Last year, the GTA expressed its concern at Gozo’s dwindling domestic tourism figures. To what would you contribute this decline and what are your proposals to help improve on these figures?
Money / Issue 19 - 13
“Gozo is not a mass-market destination and therefore our marketing approach is to target selective markets.”
Last year our concern was on dwindling tourism figures with regards to the domestic market. However, during 2012 Gozo managed to increase the number of bed nights from the foreign tourists by 12 per cent. On the other hand we have the numbers of arrivals and bed nights deriving from the domestic market going down these last couple of years. One of the main reasons behind this decline is the increasing numbers of Maltese who are opting for more short breaks abroad, especially to countries and destinations serviced by the low cost carriers. On the other hand the GTA is working closely with the authorities to boost its domestic market. This is being done by the introduction of reduced ferry fares during the winter months as well as with other schemes that we will be launching in the near future. Gozo has a healthy ex-pat community – how can this community be roped in to help in marketing Gozo around the world? The ex-pat community is already roped in and giving a helping hand in marketing Gozo all over the world. This community, apart from being visited on regular basis by relatives, is also serving as a promotional tool through word of mouth with their friends, who more often then not take their advice and come over for a holiday on our island. In fact it is estimated that six per cent of the foreign tourist who visit Gozo are staying with friends and relatives. Last year, extensive roadworks in Gozo hindered travel and tourism in the sister island – how do you advise to better coordinate infrastructural works with tourism demands? The GTA has always complained about the tourism product and the need that this needs upgrading. Therefore in this respect we welcome all infrastructural works that
embellish and enhance the Gozitan tourism product. However this cannot be done at the expense of loss of business especially that deriving from tourism. Therefore we propose that any infrastructural work should be better co-ordinated, well planned with specific deadlines that are to be met, and all stakeholders should be consulted. Furthermore such works are to be carried out during the winter and lean months and not during the high tourism season. There has been talk of the proposed Mgarr marina being established as a yachting destination. In reality how far advanced is this project and is there a timescale within which this would become a reality? In the last week of June, Government issued an expression of interest which covers the development of a cruise liner terminal and berthing facilities as well as a yacht marina in Gozo. The interested parties have up to August 16, 2013 to submit their proposals for the aforementioned development. From then on an evaluation process will commence and we believe that the other processes will follow in order to have this development take place. We understand that this will take a number of years to be realised but the process is already on. So we keep our fingers crossed. What plans are there for future marketing of the Gozo brand as a separate entity from Malta? GTA has always promoted Gozo as a distinct destination. Gozo is different from Malta but we have always marketing Gozo as complimentary to Malta. In this regard together with the Malta Tourism Authority and the Ministry for Gozo, we promote the Maltese islands in all their diversity. In this way, both destinations compliment each other.
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14 - Money / Issue 19
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Patrick Debattista is reading for an executive MA in financial analysis.
Having a good game Patrick Debattista explores two completely different sectors in the Maltese economy: tourism, which has been at the heart of Maltese society for decades; and iGaming, a relatively new phenomenon with bright prospects ahead.
Tourism – the facts The tourism sector has long been the bread and butter of the Maltese economy, generating around 15 per cent of the country’s GDP and enjoying steady, yet unspectacular growth in recent years. It is an industry which has been in existence since the post-war days, when the audacious idea of the island becoming an attractive tourist destination was first brought up. It is also one of the few areas which has enjoyed the full co-operation of both major political parties. Various governments may have changed but the tourism industry still is, and will continue to be, a fulcrum of the local economy. The role of the industry as a mainstay in Malta is evidenced by the World Travel and Tourism Council (2011), which ranks Malta 13th out of 181 countries for the relative contribution of tourism to its economy. The figures 2012 was a good year for tourism in Malta. Inbound visitors surpassed the 1.45 million mark, the first time such a figure was reached. In other words, almost four tourists visited the island in 2012 for every Maltese resident
(2011 population 416,055: NSO). This figure brought about both qualitative and quantitative benefits to our shores. Namely, total tourist expenditure increased by nine per cent on the back of the larger tourist numbers. This is also reflected in a seven per cent rise in per capita tourist expenditure (at €931 per visitor). Malta has also carved out a niche in the cruise liner industry, attracting around 600,000 passengers in the 11 months to November 2012, surpassing the previous year’s record of 556,000. This all translates into a €35 million contribution to the local economy (NSO, 2012). These figures are all the more impressive when set against the backdrop of a global financial crisis. All our Mediterranean neighbours are in financial turmoil, some of them subsequently needing bailout assistance from the Eurogroup to stay afloat. These are all alarming signs for a sector so interconnected as the tourism industry. However, Malta has shown remarkable resilience in the face of such adversity – in part due to constant innovation and diversification into different sub-segments, such as cruise liners.
What needs to be done In spite of current achievements, a number of significant challenges remain. The rise of the former Yugoslavia as a tourism destination in the Mediterranean has increased competition. Malta has coped well so far, but the government must continue to attract people from all sides of the globe. This task should be made easier by global air passenger demand growing by 5.4 per cent this year (IATA, 2013). Malta has done well to branch out into different sub-sectors. For example, it has become an established market player in teaching English for foreign students. However, it has not done enough to lure other types of tourism on the higher end of the scale. Despite boasting stellar business conference facilities in our hotels, this area has lagged behind other types of tourism in Malta. Being an island does not help, but surely more can be done to harness this particular niche. iGaming – the facts While tourism remains the tried and tested option in Malta, one sector which is still in its infancy but is nonetheless enjoying stellar growth is the gaming industry – in particular iGaming.
Money / Issue 19 - 17
The difference between iGaming and normal gaming is the use of the internet in conducting gaming activity. In iGaming, Malta is becoming a major world player. The success of the industry can be contributed to a multitude of factors, including a favourable fiscal regime, a highly talented and multi-lingual workforce, Malta’s mild climate, a developed IT infrastructure and a proactive regulator. Again, despite its relative novelty, iGaming is another area which has enjoyed unwavering political consensus. The figures Malta is now home to an active 425 gaming operators (Lotteries and Gaming Authority, 2013). Total revenue registered by the LGA increased by five per cent to surpass €51 million in 2011. This was mainly composed of gaming taxes and duties collected by the government.
Moreover, the global games industry (valued at $49bn in 2010) is expanding rapidly and is expected to experience annual growth of nine per cent between 2010 and 2014. It has already more than doubled in size since 2005 (Malta Enterprise, 2011). This should be a springboard for further success in Malta.
Therefore, ways could be explored to cater for this more innovative form of finance while keeping credit risk in check.
What needs to be done One drawback of having such a young industry growing at breakneck speed is that the country might not have had enough time and resources to adapt to a rapidly changing economic landscape. A significant concern is the lack of angel funding or early-stage investment to encourage start-up companies, with potential investors having to rely solely on banks to finance their activities. Sometimes an investor with a promising business plan would be unable to fully meet bank guarantee requirements to set up shop in Malta.
Another disadvantage could be the lack of business networking or hot desk meeting places where gaming players and investors can work, of the type seen at TechHub in London. On the other hand, Malta’s small size and compactness could work to its benefit in this respect. All in all, the Maltese iGaming industry has been a resounding success. One cannot help but applaud the sector’s meteoric rise as another feather in Malta’s cap. However, we must not get ahead of ourselves. After all, the world is currently experiencing its worst financial crisis in living memory. Malta must keep its feet firmly on the ground.
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See the sea
We have so many opportunities to strengthen Malta as a yachting destination, says Georges Bonello DuPuis. All we need is determination and investment. Photos by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. How has Malta enhanced its product as a yachting destination in the past years? Thanks to the introduction of private marinas, the privatisation of the state run marinas in Malta and Gozo as well as the enormous exposure that international sailing events such as the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the Bailli de Suffren rally bring to Malta, we can say that we have come a long way in establishing Malta and Gozo as yachting destinations. Product Malta has also been upgraded. The recently launched Global Residence Programme will be another step in the right direction to attract high earners to Malta – there is always a good chance that foreigners who invest in high-end property in Malta will end up buying a yacht. Moreover, the Malta Ships Registry has already managed to entice various yachts from around the world to our islands.
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We still need to do some minor tweaks to make our islands the perfect yachting destination. For instance, we seriously lack safe and adequate berths. As any local yacht importer will tell you, their biggest nightmare is sourcing a berth for new clients. We just need to make sure that we can handle such new enquiries. As you rightly say, one of Malta’s main issues is its berthing capacity – how can this be developed to meet the demand? Malta’s yacht berthing capacity was and still is a problem. With successive governments planning to turn the former Malta shipbuilding site into a marine hub, this could possibly ease the berthing shortage – however, it is not enough. Moreover, one must keep in mind that the shipbuilding site is not the ideal location for a marina, since it is a waterfront location. The authorities need to realise that our berthing capacity can be boosted by turning Marsamxett into a safe harbour.
Being an island, what natural advantages do we have to become a top yachting destination? Our main attractions are our location in the middle of the Mediterranean, as well as our natural harbours and great climate. Do we need to organise more sailing and boating events to attract top yachts to Malta? There is always need for more sailing and boating events – however, as with everything, it’s not about quantity but quality. The Rolex Middle Sea Race has surely put Malta on the map and is now an attraction in itself. The Bailli de Suffren rally, which started being organised a few years ago, is also gaining in popularity and attracts yachts from the South of France to Malta. Trying to include Malta in an already established circuit can cost hundreds of thousands of euros, but once you do manage, you would have the likes of Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts
Georges Bonello DuPuis is an experienced sailor and consulting editor for Skipper magazine.
We can surely do more and I am convinced that previous, current and future administrations have done and will continue to do their utmost in developing this niche market. We have a fantastic Grand Harbour which, together with Marsamxett Harbour, needs to be exploited to the full. Do you agree with the recent call for expression of interest to develop a new cruise liner terminal and yacht marina in Gozo? To be perfectly honest, I cannot see this happening due to the size and environmental restraints we have on our sister island. Mgarr has already reached its capacity, which is also limited by its size and its use as the Gozo ferry terminal.
together with a whole fleet of racing yachts visiting annually. Nothing comes easy and if the authorities and organisers don’t pull their weight, no one will be bothered to include Malta as an event location.
Personally, I think that Gozo should be left as it is. On the other hand, I am disappointed that a similar call for interest for the Marsamxett harbour wasn’t issued. Here we have a perfect natural harbour which could easily host another cruise liner terminal together with various other yacht marinas and super yacht berths. The area at the ferries is just waiting to be transformed into various super yacht berths together with three to four private yacht marinas. Also, the area near the Valletta Waterpolo club could easily be transformed into a cruise liner terminal. The opportunities are endless – all we need is money and determination.
What we certainly need is a Malta Race Sail Week and a power boat race – however, it takes determination, time and investment to build these up to international standards.
Live in luxury The official inauguration of high-end realty brand Malta Sotheby’s International Realty took place on June 18 at the Hilton Quarterdeck, Portomaso. The attraction of the luxury realty brand to Malta was an investment by CSB Group and is aimed towards attracting qualified international buyers to Malta and to further promote the island’s unique selling perspective. Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Hon Dr Edward Zammit Lewis inaugurated the opening of Malta Sotheby’s International Realty in Malta. Dr Zammit Lewis remarked that the opening of Malta Sotheby’s International Realty promises to continue creating a climate within which local and foreign entrepreneurs would want to invest. He congratulated CSB Group for attracting the high-end brand to Malta and said that the launch also coincided with the recently launched Global Residence Programme, which aims to facilitate the residence process by offering excellent incentives for non-EU residents who are willing to invest in Malta. Malta Sotheby’s International Realty will be aiming to serve the high-end residential and commercial real estate market throughout Malta and Gozo, representing properties of exceptional quality, unique characteristics and value for money. CSB Group has for the past quarter of a century been offering specialised business and commercial services to clients interested in setting up or relocating their business to Malta, among which entrepreneurs, multinational companies, international players, law and audit firms, financial institutions and high net-worth individuals. Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 12,800 sales associates located in approximately 660 offices in 47 countries and territories worldwide. For more information, call on +356 2010 8070, e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or find Malta Sotheby’s International Realty on Facebook.
Is the cruise liner industry developing in the right direction? Some 25 years ago, when Dr Joe Fenech was responsible for maritime affairs, one of his main priorities was to develop Malta as a cruise liner port of call. Over the years, we have all witnessed this magnificent growth thanks to the privatisation of the cruise liner terminal in the Grand Harbour and especially to the marketing efforts of the Malta Tourism Authority.
Photo caption: From left: Malta Sotheby’s International Realty General Manager Ian Zammit, EMEA Region Managing Director Sotheby’s International Realty Olivier Beumer, President and CEO Sotheby’s International Realty Philip White, Parliamentary Secretary for Competiveness and Economic Growth Hon Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, Malta Sotheby’s International Realty Joint Owners Michael J. Zammit, Tony M. Zammit and Roger Strickland Jr.
Money / Issue 19 - 21
Money / Issue 19 - 21
A capital hotel
Malta’s first five-star hotel, the Phoenicia continues to enchant its guests, says Charles Azzopardi, Hotel Phoenicia Malta General Manager.
The Phoenicia is the grand dame of local hotels – how have you kept it relevant to the modern traveller? I cannot stress enough the importance of refurbishment, product improvement and continuous improvement in service standards and delivery. Hospitality is ever changing and we have to always cater for ever changing demands. Recently the Phoenicia went through a refurbishment programme involving rooms and all the ground floor public areas. Wi-Fi was installed in all restaurants and bars – we provide it for free to all our customers. The recently refurbished interior harbours an imposing Art Deco influence sustaining 128 bedrooms and eight suites, affording majestic views from most rooms and balconies. We also look at keeping our product relevant in terms of what is becoming even more important for our guests, such as eco awareness and friendliness. Being 70 years old does not mean we are out-of-touch – we have installed a state-of-the-art energy management system which helps to reduce energy cost without affecting guest comfort. There is a strong technology bias across all hotel departments with a view to using technology to enhance guest experience and ease staff working conditions. The tourism industry is becoming increasingly unpredictable, with travellers opting for last minute bookings – how does this influence your operations? Corporate business has always been more late booking than other market segments and we have always handled more that our fair share of this, given our proximity to Valletta and the primary policy-making and business hubs. The leisure market, a sizeable portion of our business, is now becoming even more late booking. Therefore, our selling practices have to be more based on revenue practices where availability of inventory at any one time to any one segment and price are dependent on daily forecasts. Revenue management has become critically important, in line with sales and marketing. We are more proactive to changing demand patterns and more predictive.
There is an element of business which is still booking well in advance and we are continuously looking at how we can also be available for purchase when this type of client is ready to buy. This keeps our marketing team under Sales and Marketing Director Rob Bruno on their toes. How do your menu offerings cater for your guests’ tastes? We have recently invested heavily in our Food and Beverage department on a project called ‘True Mediterranean Taste’. Leading the change, we have brought on-board Food and Beverage Manager Francesco Perricone and Executive Chef Saul Halevi, both with vast experience in order to rejuvenate our culinary credentials. Francesco is responsible for the daily operation and strategic planning of our five outlets. Saul is a highly creative chef who maintains that dishes should use only the finest ingredients that are in season. As a hotel, you enjoy a healthy level of repeat guests – what makes a guest return to the same hotel? This is the strength of Phoenicia’s brand and is testament to the dedication of all our staff. Guests will only return if their last experience has been equal or better than their previous. The core to this is that we try and make our clients feel at home and treating them as valued clients and not numbers. We keep in contact with most of our core repeat guests through e-newsletters and personalised Christmas and birthday wishes. Neville Cardona, the Front Office Manager for over 15 years, dedicates time to spend with them and sources items like concert tickets for them. How does the Phoenicia’s vicinity to the capital add strength to your brand? For years, the Phoenicia has been synonymous with Valletta. Following the multiple restoration and building projects, Valletta has also changed – there are now more bars and restaurants which are important for tourists when choosing where to stay. The most important factor is the cultural and archaeological wealth of Valletta. We support cultural events in the vicinity and organisations like Teatru Manoel, Malta Council for Culture and Arts and Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, so that more events can be organised. For the past
years we have supported events like the Malta Jazz Festival, Malta Arts Festival, Ghanafest and Valletta Baroque Festival. As an industry, tourism depends a lot on how it is packaged – how would you improve the ‘Malta brand’? Malta’s brand is directly related to the Phoenicia brand – it’s about heritage, hospitality and diversity. Our 70-year heritage gives us a wealth of history and a unique charm standing proudly on the doorstep to Valletta. The Phoenicia is a cultural icon in its own right and houses the single largest collection of CaruanaDingli paintings in the world, on permanent display. We provide a warm Maltese welcome. Visitors and guests can wine and dine in a splendid choice of settings, whether it’s haute cuisine at the Phoenix restaurant, afternoon tea in The Palm Court Lounge, a cooling cocktail at the Club Bar, or a flambé dinner at the Pegasus. We are always improving details in our operation, in the same way that all the other tourism stakeholders are doing to effectively represent Malta’s tourism brand. We can always improve – we just had our best ever six months since the day we opened, and all our efforts should be coordinated towards making tourism success sustainable for Malta. What are your projections for this summer? We had a great winter and so far we have managed double-digit growth over our record last year. Advance bookings for summer are well above last year and we hope we can continue to drive business during the last couple of winter months of the year. We have launched an extensive summer programme which offers significant interest both for international and local patrons of the hotel. The Phoenicia is in shape for this summer with a packed programme and dinner reservations will shift decidedly outdoors. Our programme also includes Malta’s first ever Wine Buffet, Sunday Grill, Italian and Maltese-themed nights and live entertainment. All in all, summer looks and tastes good. For more information visit www. phoeniciamalta.com
Money / Issue 19 - 23
A quality experience Being a hospitable nation gives our tourist industry added value, says Kevin Callus, Hotel Manager of The Palace and The Victoria Hotel.
What are the main challenges that the hotel industry is currently facing? The seasonality aspect is surely the main challenge for our industry. Due to the shortage of flight seat capacity in the winter and shoulder months, hotels face an occupancy challenge which translates into an oversupply of bed stock, leading to a price sensitive market curtailing on profitability prospects. Another challenge is the increase in utility costs – this is an issue that everyone is facing and reduces hotels’ profitability. I also find that a hotel career choice is becoming less popular. Other industries have become more attractive – this makes it a challenge to find skilled and dedicated staff with the right experience for certain jobs. Given their proximity, how do The Victoria Hotel and The Palace complement each other? From concept to décor stage, the two hotels attract different markets. Both located in the heart of Sliema, The Palace is hip, cosmopolitan, very modern and one of the youngest five-star hotels on the island while The Victoria Hotel is classic and elegant with a certain feel that makes it a home away from home. That said, we cater for both four- and five-star markets, thus offering a wider price bracket, always providing a high level of service in both properties. Another property worth mentioning is our 200-year-old historical Palazzo Capua, situated right next to the Victoria Hotel. It is part of the AX Hotels group and has five luxury suites, four of which are duplex. With regards to events and conferences, these can be catered by both The Palace and The Victoria Hotel. Our biggest advantage within these three properties is the interchanging of hotel staff according to the needs of every event and venue. The tourist industry is becoming increasingly unpredictable, with travellers opting for last minute
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bookings – how does this influence your operations? The last minute booking phenomenon has been with us for a while and peaked in the last two years. Nowadays, most people do their own travel arrangements from the comfort of their home. Our hotels are also busy with corporate travellers whose decision to travel is taken within days if not hours. People also tend to travel more frequently but stay for a shorter period of time. Moreover, people are more priceconscious and some prefer to wait for attractive last minute offers. Together with our sales team, we focus highly on short-term selling and price yielding by monitoring the market conditions very closely. To be able to sustain such a scenario, having a close bond with suppliers is very important, as is an organisational structure which caters for any last minute occupancy boom. How does The Victoria Hotel and The Palace’s location in Sliema add value to your brand? Our location is right in the heart of a business community and a popular shopping district. Sliema is Malta’s most fashionable town with high street brands, modern cafés and a hub of foreign corporate companies, mostly operated by the younger generation. Being situated in the quiet part of town, just a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of it all, we are “so close yet so far”. We are surrounded by typical Maltese townhouses, Baroque churches and an upscale residential area, while being only a 10-minute drive away from touristic St Julian’s. We are close to the rocky coastline of Sliema and its promenade and our hotels boast some of the best views of Sliema’s skyline including Valletta’s harbour. How do your menu offerings cater for your guests’ tastes? Our international culinary brigade has a wealth of experience. Local and foreign chefs, ranging from European and Asian to Indian and South American enable us to offer authentic cuisines. Our executive chefs of both The Palace and The Victoria are very passionate about
food and often travel to keep themselves abreast with the latest culinary trends. Thus, we offer a variety of innovative menus throughout our food and beverage outlets as well as themed nights to ensure diverse flavours for our hotel guests. As an industry, tourism depends a lot on how it is packaged – how would you improve the Malta brand? The Malta Tourism Authority is on the right track to not only promote Malta as a sun and sea destination, but also through other specific markets, be it cultural, conference, musical or sports related. These bring a different niche of tourists to our island, more importantly in the shoulder and winter months. For instance, this year the Baroque Festival in January gave our hotels a boost – this festival is gaining in popularity, and we are sure that this will once again help next January. Brand Malta is not just about how and where Malta is marketed – more important is the guarantee of a quality experience for our tourists who will then share their positive experience back home. We need to keep improving our country’s infrastructure, fine-tuning the transportation system, and improving the landscape while ensuring the professionalism of all industry operators. Above all, Malta needs to remain renowned as a hospitable nation. All tourism industry players must challenge themselves to improve their product while offering value for money. From a hotel point of view, the MTA’s new star rating system will help further improve our hotel standards. What are your projections for this summer? From a local events point of view, summer is picking up well and we are forecasting a performance in line with last year’s. As for accommodation, we are heading into a good summer, thanks to an increased airline seat capacity and high demand. We are thus forecasting that this year will be better than the previous year, which has already been perceived as a very good year for tourism.
Quick on his feet When a company achieves strong growth, it still needs to remain agile, says David Walsh, Chief Marketing Officer at Uniblue Systems Ltd.
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hen David Walsh first came to Malta on holiday some 25 years ago, little did he know that he would eventually return to work for a Malta-based company. “Malta played an important role in my decision to work for Uniblue,” Walsh says. “First of all, communicating here is
easy as most people are proficient in the English language. Moreover, compared to other countries, Malta has a healthy expat community. Here, expats don’t keep to themselves – rather, they enjoy a broader social network. That helps people in their professional and personal life.”
the company and gave a thorough presentation to our employees. That’s an acknowledgement that our strength is in our people. We have a lot of talent in the company and we invest a lot in keeping this talent, while attracting new talent to Uniblue. For instance, we have just hired a new VP of HR with valuable international experience.
Walsh, originally from the UK, joined Uniblue in 2011.
“We’ve experienced a high degree of healthy growth,” says Walsh. “This success is the fruit of various factors. First of all, the company understood the potential that people want to optimise the systems they have, at a very early stage. Moreover, Uniblue acknowledged that distribution is key and that for a distribution network to be successful, you need strong partnerships. In fact, we are very aggressive at building strong relationships.” Uniblue’s simple yet powerful tools are aimed at improving a computer’s stability and performance. “That might sound like a niche market, but it isn’t,” says Walsh. “1.5 billion PCs isn’t a niche market.” What will fuel Uniblue’s success in the coming years? “Our people contribute a lot to our success. We have just rebranded
“Our new CEO, Christopher Bolin, is also doing the heavy lifting in research – it is very reassuring to have someone like Christopher, who has 20 years experience in Silicon Valley, on board. “That said, the best research anyone can do is on an individual level – how you interact with technology in your personal life. That is very valid research and we encourage our employees to bring that knowledge to the office.
“At the time, I was based in Luxembourg,” says Walsh, whose career to date includes experiences at McAfee, Paypal and eBay. “When the opportunity to join Uniblue came around, I felt I could step up into a new role. Before joining, I came to Malta several times and was interviewed by about 10 per cent of the company. I was also in daily contact with the CEO and researched Uniblue’s products as well as the challenges in the industry. For me, it wasn’t about moving to another company – rather, it was about taking on a new challenge.” Launched in Malta in 2003, Uniblue has enjoyed a decade of success.
are heading to a change in how we use technology – this transformation will be as radical as the industrial revolution.
“Our success is also based on trust,” says Walsh. “Trust is a very important value – it is the mark of a genuine company that listens to feedback. Trust has to be nurtured from within. If your people trust you, then this trust comes through to your products and customers. Once you lose trust, it’s very difficult to get it back, so my job is to generate trust.
“If your people trust you, then this trust comes through to your products and customers.” “We also spend a lot of money on sending staff to vocational training and to gain experience abroad. Around 25 per cent of our team are also pursuing their studies at an MA level – I’m very proud of our people who make such an effort. “We also invest a lot in research and focus on future trends. The world has changed a lot in recent years – nobody expected the resurgence of Apple and the shift to mobile devices. It will continue changing faster than ever before and we
“Uniblue also aims to build loyal partnerships based on trust. If you build your relationships on money, your partnerships will not last long. For partnerships to be successful, you need to nourish them on added value and trust – if your partners trust you, then when they see something new on the market, they will come to you and not to your competitor. “You need to speak to your partners. At Uniblue, we make it a point to invite our partners to Malta. When they come here and see what we’re doing, they are always impressed. Moreover, it is reassuring to them that we operate from such a stable country – that is why Malta is such a good place to do business in. This further generates trust. “The key to success is to combine all these elements and, while achieving growth, remaining agile – you have to innovate quickly and in a collaborative way while remaining relevant to customers who are more price conscious than ever before. After all, success has to be sustainable.”
Money / Issue 19 - 27
Dr Michael Refalo is a former Minister for Tourism, Justice, Culture and the Arts. He is a Companion of the Order of Merit of Malta, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a former High Commissioner to the Court of St James’s.
Onions and hot potatoes Steering Malta’s tourist industry is like conducting an opera. Just beware of the false notes, says Michael Refalo.
he road has been long and at times arduous. That said, Malta’s tourist industry has made great strides and significant progress. But with competitors for custom milling around us we have no time for self-congratulation and mutual back-slapping. The first and most difficult hurdle was winning over popular support for an industry that not only has become the country’s lifeblood and which currently tops Malta’s economic league – it is also a major contributor to the creation and proliferation of job opportunities which despite hundreds of local ITS graduates seems more attractive to foreign, untrained EU and non-EU personnel. By and large successive holders of the tourism portfolio have recognised the value and importance of working in tandem with the industry’s stakeholders, movers and shakers and, more importantly, that their brief consists mainly in creating and facilitating innovative opportunities, ensuring a hospitable environment for our visitors to enjoy, and highlighting the islands’ historical and archaeological gems. The time for diktat is long past. Gone are the days when tourism office-holders were considered simply as
purveyors of fun. Every administrative decision has an impact on the tourist industry and before implementation should pass through tourism’s fine comb. In 2017, Malta will hold the EU Presidency. 2018 is Valletta’s date with destiny as the European City of Culture. Nothing should be done or allowed to happen that in any way mars our capital’s majestic restored grandeur. Moving Valletta’s open market to within hugging distance of the Renzo Piano project and Malta’s new House of Representatives detracts from the city’s image. For starters let’s begin by giving hawkers the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge that loss of business is attributable to their current location. Is moving them lock, stock and barrel closer to the bus terminus the only solution? The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so how about laying on a circular minivan service (for free or a few cents) to ferry potential customers from the terminus to the Merchants Street / Archbishop Street junction and back? Additionally, it would also boost Valletta’s restaurant trade. Time for the Valletta Local Council, Arriva and for that matter the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure to wake up. Should business fail to improve then the case for moving to the capital’s entrance does not hold water.
As the first European Tourism Minister to broker an agreement with the People’s Republic of China, I cannot but welcome investment and assistance without strings from the Asian giant. Even if one were to put aside the World Bank’s censure of the China’s state company that struck a deal with Government to provide a pro bono feasibility study on the cost and economic potential of constructing a bridge between Malta, Comino and Gozo, there are ample environmental and visual grounds to oppose it. On the other hand, despite its negative aspects, a tunnel between the islands would not have such a disastrous visual impact. There is an upsurge of greater environmental awareness among the younger generation. Serial building-waste dumpers and moronic pseudo hunters who to the detriment of their law-abiding colleagues contravene the country’s shooting and trapping laws, should be dealt with in a severe manner. If these people are unwilling to listen to reason and fail to understand that their selfishness is counter-productive, they have only themselves to blame when they are made to feel the full force of the law. The current incumbent at the Ministry for Tourism is Karmenu Vella. He has loads of experience, has majored and worked in the industry, and is well thought of. Time has smoothed the rough edges apparently de rigueur more than a quarter of a century ago. He knows his onions, carries sufficient clout in cabinet, and has the ability to handle hot potatoes. Despite the industry’s innate volatility and the need for periodic tweaking to keep ahead of our competitors in the Mediterranean, I do not envisage significant changes in policy. His watch-word should and will be to keep the ship steady as she goes.
Money / Issue 19 - 29
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Reuben Buttigieg is managing director of Erremme Business Advisors and President of the Malta Institute of Management.
syndrome is very common in the tourism industry in Malta.
Diversity in the tourist industry is beneficial, but fragmentation is dangerous, says Reuben Buttigieg.
he importance of tourism in the local economy is recognised by all. Moreover, it’s acknowledged that the sector is also critical for other local industries such as financial services and gaming. Regrettably, the tourist sector has failed to evolve at the same pace as the latter industries grew. There are various instances where the tourist industry has failed to meet expectations - most are attributable to a Catch 22 situation whereby government fails to invest and the industry fails to upgrade, blaming government that it’s not investing. The reality is that the spending in the last 10 years in the industry was not planned well and rather than seeking financially efficient actions, a larger focus was based on cost cutting exercises. There is a huge difference between the two. The perfect example is the case of Airmalta. The national airline, whether we acknowledge it or not, faces a slow and painful extinction if it proceeds with the current blindfolded strategy. The current administration may have cut costs but it has failed to create financial efficiency. The cost cutting obsession has rendered Airmalta as nothing better than a low cost airline but at a high price. This
This new national administration has the duty to lead by changing this mentality. First and foremost it needs to decide on a direction for the industry. By way of analogy I can build a residential complex and have part of the complex aimed at the luxury market. Let us say the complex offers penthouses at €800,000 plus but at the same time it offers one bedroom apartments for €50,000. Strategy wise, the complex would be caught in the middle, as high spenders certainly would not engage in the same lifestyle as those living in the one bedroom apartments. This is exactly Malta’s current situation. The industry is too fragmented. Diversity may be beneficial but fragmentation is dangerous. The strategy was certainly not there and the financial strategy even less, if Malta spent money advertising in Italy to attract five-star tourists. Again this lack of strategy led to a situation where even the private sector started giving mixed messages. The level of five-star hotels in Malta is lacking and the kind of guests in certain five-star hotels seem to be three-star tourists. Not only that, but the level of restaurants has become worrying. Again, the mentality here is low cost not value for money. Personally, I feel the blame should be given to the financial persons who allowed or endorsed spending according to an unclear strategy. They failed in their duties and responsibilities. There is a misconception about the role of financial persons in Malta. It is not a
The Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona told the audience of top executives from Malta’s leading family firms that the Act was an electoral promise and that it would place Malta at the forefront of the EU.
Keeping it in the family Government has launched a consultation process on the drafting of a Family Business Act during the BOV-PwC Family Business Forum, held at Corinthia St George.
“This should be a very exciting piece of legislation. It will be the first of its kind in the EU and, if we get it right, could be the blueprint for other countries to follow,” he said. Three of every four businesses in Malta are family-run and range from multinationals now in their third or
question of being stringent but rather, of ensuring that the decisions taken are financially efficient. As nice as a strategy may look, its benefit needs to exceed the costs and if the strategy is weakened through cost cutting, then another strategy should be considered. An additional lack of financial strategy from a national perspective is the double spending in targeting the same markets and giving conflicting messages. The one Malta, one message strategy is still inexistent. Moreover, the appointments in some authorities may not be necessarily the most appropriate in this context. We have too many authorities heading into different directions and too many power republics doing the same. The current administration should decide to centralise certain strategic decisions. This is not a question of decentralisation or of democracy – rather, it’s a strategic issue that is wasting a lot of our country’s resources. Consultation is always positive but distributing responsibility may be dangerous. Regrettably, the political agenda is more about distribution than the right decisions. We have seen this in various administrations, including the current one. There was hope that a new generation of politicians would be technocrats and hence more professional in their decisions. Whether this generation will make this true or whether it will be a generation of followers is still to be seen. In any case, there is the duty to improve on their predecessors and to ensure that financial decisions are based on financial efficiency.
fourth generation to a corner store run by the founder and his children. However, they face common issues, the most pertinent being the transfer of the business from one generation to another. Dr Cardona noted that although many family businesses pass down to the next generation, only around 30 per cent of them pass on to the generation after that. “I would like to see a legal framework in place so that members of a family concern can facilitate the planning and transfer of their business.”
The forum, themed Planning for Continuity, proposed various solutions, from tax and financing issues, to the use of trusts, drawing on the expertise of expert speakers from PwC and BOV. The audience also heard case studies from four leading companies. The forum was the last event in a series organised throughout May by Bank of Valletta aimed at promoting business issues in various economic sectors ranging from SMEs to family business, as well as specific sectors like aviation. Money / Issue 19 - 31
How should Gozo be promoted? George Larry Zammit outlines the challenges of destination marketing.
eyond consumer products and services, marketing is also crucial to the success of destinations. But as marketing is not just about fancy advertising, a well-managed integrated marketing mix is essential to contribute to the destination’s development. Destination marketing is more complex and challenging due to the fragmentation of existing interests of the various tourism stakeholders. Using the 15 Cs framework (Alan Fyall et al, 2006), I will attempt to evaluate the future marketing challenges of destination Gozo.
Even though a small island, Gozo has its own complexities and its own set of multiple stakeholders which together, as well as individually, try to promote and deliver the Gozo experience to multiple
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markets. The identification of common goals is essential to charter a realistic and achievable vision for the future.
Successful destination marketing and branding depends on the capability to control the elements of the destination product. Gozo needs its own brand image to stand out as a separate product to the ‘Visit Malta’ umbrella brand. But who champions the destination marketing and brand image of Gozo? Is it the Ministry for Gozo, the Gozo Tourism Association or the Malta Tourism Authority? The general idea is that they are all part of the process – however, the unfortunate truth is that marketing is not a very democratic process. Therefore one entity needs to rise above the rest to establish full control and champion the marketing of destination Gozo.
The key to survival is the ability and agility to adapt to change. Is this the case of Gozo, which was once promoted as ‘the island where time stood still’? Like it or not, private enterprise is adapting to change, but what about the public sector and the local community? Do we actually realise the continuous evolution of the external environment around us? No man is an island – fellow Gozitans need to depart from an insular mentality and grasp the realities of the integrated community around us.
Any destination would be impacted negatively with the occurrence of a crisis or disaster. Be it through flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, oil spills, or terrorism, such situational events hit destinations unexpectedly. Is Gozo
prepared for a possible ecological disaster? What would the impact be like and how would the stakeholders and community react? Food for thought.
Continuous change and fear of crisis normally prevent complacency. Unfortunately, change and prevention are not popular buzzwords in Gozo. Hence the tendency is to take things for granted and let progress take its natural course. This should not be the case as Gozo needs to be more proactive.
Gozo attracts visitors from a diversity of sources. Be it our fellow Maltese to other main markets such as the UK, Germany and Italy, Gozo needs to continue in its efforts to identify and target potential new markets and travel segments. Gozo has done it in the past when for
Happily living in Gozo, George Larry Zammit is Marketing Manager at Arkadia Marketing Limited and an affiliate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
example the diving segment was successfully created. It should not stop there – more effort should be made to create new segments which will attract repeat and new visitors to the island. Gozo also needs to strike the right balance by offering something for everyone, be it for the kids, youths, mature couples, families, and senior citizens.
segments, while delivering an exceptional experience. Gozo is a unique proposition where the competition can be rendered irrelevant through effective marketing. We should not underestimate the value of destination Gozo.
Gozo is famous for the iconic ‘gbejna’, is home to Gganitija temples, the oldest stone structure in the world, and can produce high quality cultural productions. Notwithstanding the several positive efforts already made, there is still much room for improvement where quality, forward planning and innovation should be the order of the day.
With increased competition, differentiation and uniqueness have become essential attributes for Gozo as an augmented destination. Most competitors conveniently select the low-price model to compete – which is in fact a very bloody red ocean. Destinations such as Cyprus and Costa Brava come to mind. Even though such tactics might deliver an immediate impact, it is a short-term strategy which will not contribute to the long-term sustainability of the destination. Gozo certainly has much more to offer than meets the eye and is not just about sun and sea. It all depends on our capability to propose an attractive lifestyle to travellers, and then fulfill their expectations.
Culture is a component which can successfully differentiate Gozo from other destinations. Food, hospitality, cultural heritage, sites and events are main attributes which make Gozo a very attractive destination to market.
Like it or not, competition exists and will only get fiercer. But which destinations is Gozo competing with? It all depends on how we position the island destination. Gozo has the potential to choose its competition. Gozo should avoid competing in a metaphorical red ocean where competition is cutthroat and intense. Instead Gozo should adopt a blue ocean strategy where a consolidated effort is made on capturing new markets and
Gozo needs to be creative to add value to its identity and experience. For example a long time ago the Gozo Cathedral Chapter didn’t have the funds to erect a proper dome. Instead they creatively commissioned a remarkable trompe l’oeil painting. And what is the Gozo Cathedral renowned for today? Gozo must be creative in utilising its limited resources to stand out and inspire those who are potentially interested in visiting Gozo.
Communication with customers is essential to forge a lasting relationship. To communicate effectively, this can no longer be done solely pre-visit but also during and post-visit. This is how you create a positive relationship where the visitor leaves Gozo with a positive experience and recommends the island to their family, friends, and co-workers. With digital mediums and smartphones, communicating has become a lot easier and even the slightest comment reaches a very wide audience. We must accept this as a challenge and use the potential of peer-topeer communication to our advantage.
Gozo, through various stakeholders, uses many channels to promote the destination. It is through various channels such as booking engines, tour operators, and trade exhibitions that the world out there discovers Gozo as a potential destination. Notwithstanding the current efforts, Gozo needs to be clever in the future to avoid the emphasis on mainstream channels which are solely motivated by low price. For example, the various Gozitans living overseas are a tremendously underutilised channel. You would be surprised how proud first and second generation Gozitans are of their island of origin, and how effective such an informal channel can be in promoting Gozo.
13 . Cyberspace
The internet has dramatically changed the way people
travel. Gozo was an early adopter of the internet with the various websites popping up to promote Gozo, accommodation, and other services. Just recently the Ministry for Gozo launched a dedicated destination portal – www.visitgozo.com. The Gozo Tourism Association too has its own online presence – www.islandofgozo.com. But the internet has become a cluttered space. Online browsing has become even more sophisticated. It is no longer about having a website but the capability to deliver relevant and engaging content. Moreover, the internet now provides us with the opportunity to not only target people by geographic location, but also by user preferences and interests. Smart online tactics can reap great dividends.
With pressing competition and lower yields, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions can become common practice to consolidate and offer long-term sustainability to local enterprise. The ability to adapt can now make the difference between demise and survival. Considering that most local businesses in Gozo are family based, this might seem farfetched. But what is the purpose of operating a business if not for profit?
15 . Collaboration
All stakeholders in Gozo need to cooperate to pool resources and expertise to develop an effective marketing mix and destination experience. Collaboration
Money / Issue 19 - 33
is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, as resources are limited, competition continues to increase, and environmental challenges persist. Through this analysis I holistically highlighted the current and future challenges of destination Gozo. Destination marketing should not be solely considered as a promotional tool, but as a strategic mechanism to increase stakeholder involvement and deliver
suitable gains for the destination, its visitors, providers, and community. Branding is also vital to promote Gozo’s identity and its key attributes as an augmented destination. In line with the conclusions reached by tourism scholar Dimitrius Buhalis, destination marketing should fulfill four key generic strategic objectives: Enhance the long-term prosperity of local people; delight visitors by maximising their
satisfaction; maximise profitability of local enterprise and maximise multiplier effects; optimise tourism impacts by ensuring a sustainable balance between economic benefits and socio-cultural and environmental costs. Gozo’s capability to successfully manage an integrated marketing mix is paramount in maintaining tourism as a prosperous pillar of the island’s economy.
Sources Buhalis, D. (2000) Marketing the Competitive Destination of the Future, Tourism Management, 21, 97-116. Fyall, A., Garrod, B. and Tosun, C. (2006) Destination marketing: A framework for future research, in Kozak, M. and Andreu L. (eds), Advances in Tourism Research: Progress in Tourism Marketing, Elsevier, Oxford, pp.75-86.
Golden touch Created by the legendary Master Blender A.J. Cameron in 1899, Dewar’s White Label is a perfectly balanced blend of sweet Scottish heather and honey, with delicate notes of vanilla, coffee, liquorice and a touch of citrus. It is a medium-bodied smooth blend, slightly dry with the faintest touch of smoke. Dewar’s White Label has stood the test of time in taste and quality, never varying for over 100 years. This year Dewar’s is giving away a free stainless steel hipflask with every 70cl bottle purchased. Dewar’s is imported and distributed by P. Cutajar Limited, San Gwann.
Creditinfo at the forefront of Credit Bureaus worldwide Creditinfo Global Forum
Creditinfo Global Forum Creditinfo is pleased to welcome you to its Creditinfo Global Forum in Prague, Czech Republic from 18th-19th September. The conference will cover important themes in the credit risk management industry.
Creditinfo Malta Limited 199, Eucharistic Congress Road, Mosta MST 9036 - Tel: 21312344 www.creditinfo.com.mt - email@example.com
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Prague 2013 Creditinfo Malta Limited is pleased to inform you that on September 18th-19th 2013 Creditinfo Group is hosting a conference in Prague. The Creditinfo Global Forum 2013 is an ambitious, comprehensive agenda covering important current themes in the credit risk management industry, such as the establishment of Credit Bureaus and the development of recently established ones, presented by qualified speakers. Full event details including agenda, speakers and registration at: http://creditinfo.com/creditinfo/creditinfo-global-forum/
Money / Issue 19 - 35
Searching for Google Does a huge market share make Google a good buy, ask Chris Grech and Calvin Bartolo.
“Google has consistently shown that it has the expertise and edge in the industries it operates in”
amsung has gained market share but it will never be the new Apple – even if Apple goes bust. iPhones and iPads are sexy but the real value of Apple is not limited to the appeal of its products. Apple customers are hooked to its ecosystem – the iOS and the music they download on iTunes – and customers tighten their shackles to Apple even harder with each additional purchase they make. Samsung phones are also cool (but arguably not as cool as Apple) and Applehaters can finally buy a glitzy phone. On the downside, Samsung users owe little loyalty to Samsung and its customers will easily shift to other Android-based devices if the competition rolls out better phones. The Samsung phone business unit generates more than half of the operating profits – this means that Samsung profits will fall quicker than they rose if customers move to other Android-based phones. We are not comfortable with this risk so we will not add Samsung Electronics to our portfolio as a long-term investment. Rather, we like companies with a strong brand loyalty because a company which sells its products with little effort can hardly be a bad investment.
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We stand by what we wrote on Apple in a previous edition of Money. Even though Apple’s market share may be declining, the phone giant rakes in 73 per cent of global profits generated from cell phones (not only smartphones). Apple customers are not switching to Android (they invested too much to switch) and the main reason why Apple lost market share is because Samsung also offers cheaper smartphones, which are popular in emerging markets. Notwithstanding this, in our drive to diversify our portfolio, we looked at other tech companies and our eyes fell on Google. Google searches account for more than 80 per cent of total internet searches worldwide and it is so popular that the word “google” is used as a verb. Yet the search engine giant did not limit itself to internet searches and over the past years, it has invested heavily in research and development. In 2012 alone, the company charged $6.6 billion of research and development to the income statement – an indicator of the company’s vision and its potential growth. The most remarkable product that Google announced so far is Google Glass,
a wearable computer which probably will replace smartphones in the near future. Glass frees our hands, is always on demand and enables us to capture a better perspective of our world. Google has called on developers to build apps for Glass during the Google I/O conference this year and social network giants Facebook and Twitter are building applications that will allow Glass wearers to upload photos to their social networks. Glass is not the only novelty. Google recently announced that it has invested $10.7 million in a company that makes drone brains. We imagine a world in the future where cars are self-driven and flights are handled by machines. In a way, Google may be building this future because a drone is actually the software that mans those objects autonomously using GPS signals. Google has consistently shown that it has the expertise and edge in the industries it operates in – however, its sprawling empire is not only restricted to innovative products. According to Morgan Stanley, YouTube is expected to grow into a business with $20 billion in sales by 2020, from $4 billion this year.
Chris Grech and Calvin Bartolo are co-founders of blackdigits.com.mt, a financial website which allows users to analyse the financial statements of local listed companies. Data is available for free. The aim of blackdigits. com.mt is to create a community-based website where users may share their views and knowledge on companies listed on the local market.
Also very recently, YouTube introduced a pilot programme for paid channels where it will allow selected popular channels to charge viewers a subscription fee. Google is effectively leveraging its infrastructure and huge user base to compete with streaming providers such as Netflix. With the advent of smart televisions, Google may be positioning itself in a goldmine especially because cable customers are tired of paying expensive subscription fees covering hundreds of channels of which they only watch a few.
Let’s look at some figures. Overall mobile advertising continues to rise, jumping 88 per cent in 2012 – mainly due to the fact that the Android OS is installed on 75 per cent of smartphones. The return on equity that Google earned ranged between 19 per cent and 23 per cent over the last four years. This rate is healthy and is within the same range of Samsung returns. This rate is substantially lower than the return Apple generated, but Apple only produces premium products on which it is able to apply higher mark-
ups. On the other hand, Google margins are declining, yet at a slow pace (table 1) and this is understandable given that the company has doubled its revenues in four years. Leverage as at the end of the financial year 2012 is 0.3x – however Google effectively has no leverage. The company may theoretically use its cash and shortterm investments to pay all its liabilities and would be left with $25 billion in its bank account.
Profit before tax ($bn)
ROE (income before tax/ total equity)
Gross Margin (Gross profit/ Sales)
Leverage (Total Liabilities/ Total Equity)
Current Ratio (Current Assets/ Current Liabilities)
Google’s performance indicators. Source: Google financial statements Fundamentally speaking, it is difficult to argue that Google is not a buy. The company has a huge market share in practically all the sectors it operates in (apart from Google+ unfortunately) and has been very proactive over the last years. However, the question is whether its price is expensive in comparison to its current and prospective earnings is quite tricky. The share price rallied strongly this
year and touched highs of $920 but has retraced to $870 at the time of writing. The share price seems to have increased too strongly in relation to its upward trend and so it is likely that the share price will retrace to the next support level defined by the same upward trend lines or other technical indicators such as the 50 day simple moving average. Even though the price has rallied strongly, the current price/earnings
(P/E) ratio, which measures how expensive a stock is, is not at very high levels. By annualising the Q1 earnings of 2013, we estimate the current P/E to be 22x, which is fair for a company with such huge prospects. Furthermore, the current P/E industry average is 21.79x and historically, the P/E of Google always exceeded 20x (refer to Table 1). All in all, Google is a good addition to one’s portfolio but investors may consider timing their entry point or points.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the authors and do not reflect the views of the users of the website, its affiliates or of any financial institution. This article is published solely for informational purposes and is not to be construed as a personal recommendation, a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments. Stock markets are volatile and subject to fluctuations which cannot be reasonably foreseen. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. The authors do not accept any liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part thereof and no representation or warranty is provided in respect of the reliability of the information contained in this report.
Money / Issue 19 - 37
Curt Gauci is director and co-founder of Kinetix IT Solutions, a local leading IT systems integrator. Kinetix is an HP, Cisco, Microsoft, Kerio, Trend Micro and Symantec certified partner.
Is your company prepared to manage the risks introduced by the bring-your-own-device trend?
t’s an unstoppable trend – employees are bringing their own iPhones, iPads, and Android devices to work and using them for business purposes. While that may be great for productivity, the influx of personal smartphones and tablets in the workplace can pose a significant risk to your organisation’s security if you don’t have an appropriate strategy in place. For most companies, simply banning personal mobile devices is not a realistic option. Today’s business realities compel IT departments to accommodate personal mobile devices, despite the risk they introduce – however, that risk needs to be managed effectively. Mobile security risks tend to fall into two broad categories: device risks and app risks. Device risks stem from the fact that mobile devices are a new class of powerful computers with massive local and cloud
As soon as organisations begin limiting access to some applications and controlling what happens to the data that is stored on mobile devices, the need to bring those devices under some form of corporate control becomes clear. Inevitably, that means investing in a mobile device management platform that can control which devices can access specific applications on your network.
In the end no comprehensive device security strategy is complete without an audit that examines your mobile infrastructure, devices and apps to identify current weaknesses and help guide your organisation’s next steps. The key message here is that the same treatment we give our laptops and PCs at work needs to be given to other devices such
An MDM solution can also carry out activities such as device provisioning and configuration, software distribution, encryption and password management, remote wipe and lock. In practical terms, that means employees can continue to use their personal or corporate-provided devices for business purposes, provided they agree to allow their device to be managed by the MDM solution.
as tablets and phones in order to ensure enterprise security all round.
storage capabilities, over which organisations typically have far less control than traditional desktop PCs or corporate-managed laptops. App risks arise from employees installing thirdparty mobile apps that interact with corporate data stored on the devices, or with your back-end systems. Risks can also arise from mobile apps that your own company develops for employees or customers, as security vulnerabilities may cause these apps to compromise your network or data. The main way to secure mobile devices and apps in the workplace is to minimise device risks with mobile device management solutions. Employee-owned smartphone and tablet access to the network is probably inevitable, so the question is how to take a risk-based approach to it. You have to ask yourself what you are going to allow – just e-mail or other applications?
When it comes to risks introduced by downloaded apps, it’s important to understand the potential for damage. They are hard to control and lots of apps are malicious.
With years of experience in network and data security, Kinetix has taken mobile and device management as the next natural step. After carrying out a device audit, Kinetix is able to help protect the client company from all the threats mentioned here, by giving IT departments the ability to securely enrol devices in an enterprise environment, wirelessly configure and update settings, monitor compliance with corporate policies, and even remotely wipe or lock managed devices.
Money / Issue 19 - 39
Trade Enquiries VJ Salomone Marketing tel: 8007 2387
Finally, a toothpaste as good as our brushes. For years we’ve made the UK’s favourite toothbrushes. Now we’ve squeezed all our oral care expertise into our new toothpaste, Oral-B Pro-Expert. Unlike ordinary toothpaste, Oral-B Pro-Expert protects all the areas your dentist checks most.
Intense inspiration Few times in the day are quite as magical as dusk, when the scorching sun gives way to a warm, aromatic breeze. Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Noir is a contemporary take on a classic aromatic fougère - it is both fresh and aromatic while deep, intense and warm, inhabiting an olfactory space not unlike dusk. It opens with a refreshing, summer breeze of cooling watermelon and then, the warming aroma of Egyptian basil is revealed, with aromatic facets of lavender and verbena.
Simon Camilleri, Country Manager, Creditinfo Malta has over a decade of experience in setting up and developing innovative credit risk management companies throughout Europe, as well as providing independent consultancy in this field and from his 10 years in the insurance industry.
Stopping the rumours A credit bureau is essential to increasing financial transparency, says Simon Camilleri.
n recent months, it has become very clear that if there is no full financial transparency in a country, this can cause speculations and doubt which in turn can create economic uncertainty. After Cyprus went to Brussels for a bailout, all eyes immediately turned to similar economies in Europe where the financial sector as a component of the economy was substantial in relation to the size of the country. Malta was singled out and speculation started on how long it would be before it asked for a bailout. The reality was there was little in comparison between the Maltese and Cypriot banking sector as reports from well-known international organisations proved. Even with these reports the speculation has not stopped, resulting
in Prime Minister Joseph Muscat being recently interviewed by the BBC to defend Malta’s economic position. The truth is that even though there is little similarity between the Cypriot and Maltese economic models, Malta does lack a degree of transparency when it comes to its banking sector. Malta is one of the very few countries in Europe which does not have a fully-fledged positive credit bureau. A credit bureau is used to collate and share information by any organisations that provide credit to highlight areas of risky debtors, fraud and to control indebtedness. In any market where there is consumer and business lending, this is essential and can provide the security to safely lend by lowering risk.
This would also benefit the Maltese marketplace as increasing transparency and lowering risk means more funds are made available to consumer and business alike, helping to drive the economy forward and calming speculation by showing that systems and procedures are in place to prevent over indebtedness and bad loans in the economy.
“Increasing transparency and lowering risk means more funds are made available to consumer and business alike.” In reality financial transparency is not something us Maltese would usually jump at, but credit bureaus are tightly regulated by Europe and the information cannot be shared openly with anyone but only with a person’s permission and in relation to an application for credit. It could only benefit us locally and internationally and help stop unfounded speculation.
Receive a Lacoste foldable gym bag when purchasing Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Noir EDT 100ml. For local trade enquiries, call VJ Salomone Marketing on freephone 8007 2387.
Desire for gold With Paco Rabanne 1 Million Intense, the new chapter of the 1 Million story, the flamboyant fantasy, is enhanced with gold reaching its climax. A snap of the fingers, a door opens, wielding all powers as fantasy turns to reality. The man is sophisticated, charismatic, flamboyant and a seducer. No one can resist this charmer. When desire joins in, intensity reaches new heights. The famous ingot bottle is dressed up in a shaded effect which translates the intense character of the fragrance. At the bottom a shy but dramatic transparency shows the interior of the bottle. The range is an Eau De Toilette Intense 100ml and 50ml. Exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Limited Tel 2133 1553.
Money / Issue 19 - 41
Dalmatian hot spot Croatia is preparing to become the 28th member state of the European Union. So why isn’t it in a celebratory mood, asks Money.
s it prepares to join the European Union on July 1 – arguably its biggest moment in 22 years as an independent state – there seems to be little to celebrate for Croatia. Otherwise, why would it dedicate a budget of just €700,000 to celebrate this momentous event? Granted, the mood within the European Union is slightly more sombre than when, for instance, Malta joined in 2004. Almost a decade later, the bloc is wrestling with great economic and political challenges and trying to find answers to the great questions of immigration, unemployment and austerity. It’s a European Union that appears less united. The situation in Croatia isn’t that good either – it has experienced economic contraction and job losses for four straight years and its unemployment rate currently stands at 21 per cent. Its credit rating is at its lowest levels, its public health and pensions systems have long been declared unsustainable, and the unpaid debts of public and private companies have exceeded €5bn.
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Croatia’s budget deficit is particularly alarming – in fact, as soon as Croatia joins the EU, it risks an immediate excessive deficit procedure since its budget deficit already breaches EU limits. Such is the cloudy mood that hovers over the Adriatic country that in a recent poll by Ipsos Puls, 42 per cent of respondents said that no ceremony to celebrate EU accession was necessary. Goes to show that the Croats are not seeing EU membership as, at least in the short-term, a paved road to greater prosperity. Similarly, other EU countries are not rejoicing at Croatia’s imminent accession. In fact, Germany’s Bild magazine has recently labelled Croatia, “The new graveyard for our taxpayers’ money”. And yet, Croatia hasn’t been doing that badly, considering that the country spent the 1990s locked in a war of independence followed by a decade of authoritarian nationalism under President Franjo Tudjman. Today, Croatia enjoys a very high Human Development Index and is considered by the World Bank as a high-income economy.
A new way of travelling
Croatia in numbers 73
Life expectancy for Croat men is 73 years. For women, it’s 80 years.
Tourism, especially, is flourishing, thanks to Croatia’s staggering natural beauty, stunning Adriatic coastline, and rich cultural heritage. In 2011, 11.2 million visitor arrivals were recorded, an eight per cent increase year on year. Increased arrivals were accompanied by higher tourism revenue – a 6.8 per cent increase in the first nine months of 2011, when compared to the same period in 2010. In 2012, tourism maintained steady growth, registering a six per cent increase in tourist arrivals between January and June. Nights also increased by five per cent. Beautiful Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, maintained its status as one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic with an increase in visitors of 13 per cent in just the first six months of 2012. By the end of 2012, tourism had contributed more than €7bn to the country’s coffers. Yet Croatia is aware of the dangers of being overreliant on tourism revenue. In fact, government has embarked on the road to privatisation and will be selling state-owned businesses that are not of strategic importance. Last year, when Croatia re-entered a recession, government also cut public spending, particularly on social programmes. Will Croatia contribute to the EU or pile on added burden. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Unemployment is at 21 per cent. Croatia’s main exports are machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and clothing.
The GDP per capita stands at €11,573.
Croatia exports 1.125bn cu m of natural gas.
Ranked 125th in the world in 1998, the Croatian football team managed to place third in that year’s World Cup, making it the most volatile team in FIFA rankings history.
Emirates provides exceptional onboard services, top-notch and extensive inflight entertainment along with the latest cabin design elements. Emirates Business Class travellers from Malta can enjoy the personalised service onboard the Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Advanced seating controls, including an inbuilt seat massage, together with more space offer extra comfort. Business Class means gourmet meals with complimentary fine wines, champagne and healthy options. ICE inflight entertainment offers hours of enjoyment with 1,400 channels of on-demand entertainment on new digital widescreens. The process of travelling to the airport, checking-in and waiting to board can be quite tiring for some. Emirates eases this process by offering a seamless on-the-ground experience to its passengers before they fly. Business Class travellers can relax in the comfort of a private chauffeur-driven car from home or office to Malta Airport, and on arrival at most Emirates destinations. At Malta Airport, the La Valette Lounge is an ideal place to relax before boarding. Around the Emirates network travellers can benefit from 35 Emirates dedicated lounges in international airports. Emirates flies to 133 destinations in 77 countries. The airline flies on a daily schedule from Dubai to Malta via Larnaka, Cyprus. For more details and bookings contact Emirates Sales Office at MIA on 2557 7255, visit emirates.com/mt or contact the local travel agent.
Money / Issue 19 - 43
New York City-based interior designer Craig Wroe takes Sean Patrick Sullivan on a tour of his latest creation: an 1860s rowhouse, restored and renovated into a state of masculine glamour, urbane eclecticism, and technicolour panache. Photos by Eugene Hardin Jr. with Craig Wroe and Eric Chen.
alifornia-born, New York-based Craig Wroe was already an accomplished actor and author when acquaintances started buzzing about his knack for design and ardour for decor. Inevitably, one of his friends hired him to renovate her apartment in Chelsea. Which led to one job, then another, then almost a decade later, dozens more. In just a few years, Wroe became widely noted for his inviting, efficient, oftentimes narrative-driven interiors throughout the New York City metropolitan area. His emerging aesthetic and approach was to be playful, eclectic and courageously colourful; to shamelessly mix styles and match eras; and to reuse and repurpose with ingenuity and abandon. More recently, Wroe has been instrumental in the restoration and reinvigoration of lobbies, exteriors, public spaces, and vintage apartment buildings throughout Jersey City, a municipality directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan. His approach: generous application of historically accurate colour, paired with contemporary hardware, lighting, and materials to create spaces that are authentic yet innovative.
Today, Wroe is applying finishing touches to the rowhouse he shares with lover and partner Daniel Pelosi, a former magazine editor and advertising executive turned real estate agent and community advocate. Their collaboration – which often consists of Pelosi saying “yes” with a well-studied mix of trepidation and enthusiasm – is bold, bright, fun, and fearless. It’s a living archive of art, memorabilia, and collectibles; a camp-soaked celebration of all that is madcap, masculine, and luxuriously urbane. Let’s take a tour.
01. Before Pelosi moved into this 1860s rowhouse, it had been home to only three previous owners and only one major renovation, meaning most original details were intact. Additional historically appropriate flourishes, such as exterior trim in mustard yellow, were added by Wroe.
03. A guest bath, wedged between the kitchen and the rear entrance, was left mostly as it was. A friend’s quirky photography, hung on ultra-highgloss chocolate-brown walls, balances masculine and feminine energies while remaining true to the home’s period palette.
02. Upon entering, visitors walk directly into the library, featuring ample seating, a quiet corner for casual dining and conversation, and a museum-quality display of collectibles.
04. One of the many vignettes crammed into every nook and cranny of the historically significant home. Wroe’s philosophy is to evoke memories with ornaments and mementos gathered from various travels.
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05. Once inside, built-in wall-to-wall bookshelves, dominate. A pop-art rug, off-setting the smokinglounge seriousness of an inherited leather sofa, comes into view. 06. Upon entering the first floor, guests are treated to a sweeping, surprisingly loft-like parlour, which is used during the day as an office and at night as an entertaining space. Soft yet deep shades of emerald and turquoise dominate, with pops of orange. 07. Past the library, in the kitchen, Wroe diverged from popular decorator practice and opted to keep as much
Sean Patrick Sullivan, our North American correspondent, is an award-winning copywriter, cultural critic and creative consultant. His work focuses on the intersections of commerce, creativity and communication technology.
of the quaint kitchen – divided into two zones by the previous owners, who kept it kosher-intact. Low-cost, high-impact upgrades make a difference. 08. The theatre features a small sampling of the owners’ extensive collection of JC Leyendecker covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Vintage magazine covers, placed in affordable mass-produced frames with ample matting, then hung in a grid, create a sense of clubhouse chic. 09. A Viennese wicker chair, reupholstered in a mintjulep houndstooth, sits directly in front of one of two master suite closets.
10. When it comes to decorating, there’s “before”. Then there’s “after”. Then, sometimes, there’s “after that”. This photo of the theatre, depicts its previous, pre-graphite incarnation. While attractive, the scarlet red was far from relaxing and failed to fit into the home’s predominance of cool and neutral tones. 11. Personal touches make guests feel welcomed. Here, a landscape painted by Wroe hangs over the mantle; the fireplace serves as storage for a guest’s choice of throws, quilts, and Mrs Roper-esque caftans; and a rag rug, made from old t-shirts of Wroe’s and Pelosi’s, provides a soft spot to land luggage.
12. A vintage-reproduction refrigerator represents the first floor’s only true splurge. Authentic linoleum tiles, installed on a diagonal, add strength and pattern to an otherwise muted space. 13. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But other times, it’s the colour of a warm, chic, sexy master suite, like this one here, the most monochromatic of all the spaces in the Pelosi/Wroe residence. The Art Deco dresser, which disappears into the walls, was gifted by a former lover whose departure was hastened by a difference of opinion on the subject of carbohydrate.
Money / Issue 19 - 45
Money joins top golfer Martin Kaymer on the green.
Money: What or who first encouraged you to take up golf? Martin Kaymer: My father really. Golf was a family activity in the beginning, something that we could do together. M: You became the number one ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking at just 27 years of age – how was the journey to the top spot? MK: Very nice, I must say. As with many things in life, following a path towards something worthwhile can be even more enjoyable than reaching the end of it. Obviously it wasn’t one thing or a single tournament that resulted in me becoming the number one. It took several years during which a lot of good things happened. It really was a fantastic journey.
46 - Money / Issue 19
M: Last year, you contributed greatly to Europe’s success in retaining the Ryder Cup – did you ever dream about such a scenario? MK: We all have dreams but to be presented with the opportunity in real life was a dream come true. I have said many times now that I feel very privileged to have had this chance – with the final result of the whole competition resting in my hands. M: Abu Dhabi has been the scene of many of your successes – what attracts you to this particular course? MK: My many winters in Scottsdale, Arizona, have prepared me well for desert golf. The courses, the surroundings and everything else in the United Arab Emirates feel very comfortable to me, especially at the Abu
Dhabi Golf Club. M: You are the official testimonial of the lifestyle brand Hugo Boss, with an own collection within the Boss Green line. What makes this golf collection special, what is the Martin Kaymer touch and what is the must have for every style conscious golfer? MK: As easy as it may sound, it is hard to find a good looking outfit that not only looks good but also fits and performs well in a variety of weather conditions. Together with the great team at Hugo Boss, we set out to create all these features. I am convinced that we succeeded. M: Do you consider yourself a technical or a feel player? MK: I am very much a feel player.
“On the golf course I cherish the pressure.” M: How do you deal with the pressure of being a world-class golfer? MK: On the golf course I cherish the pressure. After all, that is part of the reason why we play – to see how far we can take things and how much we are able to handle. Off the course, media interest can sometimes feel like pressure too. This is a less pleasant form of pressure but nonetheless part of our lives. That may not be much of an answer but it’s the reality. And, as with everything else, the better prepared you are, the better the result will be. M: Is golf becoming more accessible to younger generations? MK: That’s very hard to judge but I hope so. I know there is quite a lot being done around the world to interest young people in our sport. I do believe the Olympic Games have been a good thing, especially in Asia. M: The Royal Malta Golf Club is celebrating its 125th anniversary – what’s your message to the club members? MK: Keep your eyes on the ball. History is a great thing and I really hope that the club and sport will continue to flourish for another 125 years.
Money / Issue 19 - 47
A tale of two cities
For photographer Kris Micallef, the story of two cities is written in stone.
48 - Money / Issue 19
What elements does the architecture in Jerusalem and Malta share? Several. I already had a vague idea of what Jerusalem looks like from photographs, but after actually being there I was quite surprised at the extent to which it resembles our islands. The stone colour and texture, the building style, the small houses with tiny apertures, the arches, the narrows streets, the markets – it’s all strangely familiar. As a Maltese location, you focus on the Cittadella in Gozo – why did you zoom in on this fortified town? This event is a collaboration with University of Malta professors and lecturers Prof. Alex Torpiano (Dean of Faculty) and Prof. JoAnn Cassar, both from the Faculty for the Built Environment. Together we decided to put together an event that discusses and portrays the similarities between Malta and Jerusalem. While the professors mentioned various factors that are present in both countries, I decided to take the Cittadella in Gozo as a case study as I felt that it captured most of these elements in one locality. I also wanted to capture moments and moods that are often not that obvious at the Cittadella. For this reason I visited the city at different times of the day – the play of light and shadows is very interesting as it creates new shapes that diminish into nothing when the sun sets. The ambience is totally different when the sun is still rising or when it is overcast. This is all captured in my series Written in Stone which can be seen online on my website.
“The stone colour and texture, the building style, the small houses with tiny apertures, the arches, the narrows streets, the markets – it’s all strangely familiar.” Written in Stone is currently being exhibited at Hammam Al Ayn (Jerusalem) and Mahmoud Darwish Museum (Ramallah). It is funded by the Cultural Diplomacy Fund.
How does your background as an architect influence you as a photographer? Architecture, in my eyes, is nothing but a formula of lines put together to create art, architecture and function. Throughout my five years at university I studied various building types by looking at photographs and this has build a kind of natural instinct in me that is visible in my photography, both in my landscape photography and portraiture. I like to combine the lines present in the landscape and architecture with my subject. This probably defines my current work.
Money / Issue 19 - 49
A man of leisure
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Go for golf
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such choices,” said Grahame Salt, Director, Homes of Quality. Grahame Salt thanked all the players for their participation and The Royal Malta Golf Club for making this edition yet another success. Tommy Hilfiger Competition
Homes of Quality Golf Tournament
Sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger for the past five years, the Tommy Hilfiger Competition follows a three-day format: first day for the ladies and second day for the men. From these two days the top 80 scores go through to the third day. The winner is the aggregate of the stableford for the two days.
The fifth edition of the three-day Homes of Quality Golf Tournament was won by Jan Stibbs with a total of 76 points. The tournament opened with 150 participants and included stableford competitions for the ladies’ and the men’s categories. The top 80 scorers from the qualifying rounds competed in the final on Sunday for the grand prize – a delightful trip for two to a golfing resort in Tuscany.
The first two days produced excellent scores: Emmanuel Agius with a stableford score of 41, Quint Van Beek with 39 and Leann Balzan with 38, followed by a clutch of competitors with 36 or more. The third day arrived with over 20 likely contenders competing for the various prizes. Paul Gray completed his second round with 42 points following his first round score of 36 and was thus the overall winner with 78. Quint Van Beek followed with a total score of 77. The best lady was Mia Allsopp with a total of 76 and Felicity Dix, the current Lady Captain, was the runner-up with 71. Jonathan Shaw, Managing Director, Tommy Hilfiger (Malta) played in the competition and was at hand to distribute the generous trophies and prizes and invite all participants for lunch.
Matthew Cassar Torregiani and Leann Balzan qualified as the best players in the men’s and ladies’ categories respectively. The drive nearest to the line in the men’s category was won by Ron Feenan while the winner of the drive nearest to the line in the ladies’ category was Gina Turkington. The winner of nearest to the pin in the ladies’ category was Maria Woodward. Frank Salt, chairman, thanked the competitors and expressed his pleasure at seeing such a record participation. “The region of Tuscany was chosen as the grand prize given the region’s variety of golf courses. We believe that a property is a lifestyle choice and The Homes of Quality Golf Tournament supports
RTFX Wedgwood Trophy The RTFX Wedgwood Trophy has been contended every year since 1992. It is played over two successive Saturdays. The first Saturday is a stableford score and the second is a medal score, both utilising the full handicap. The winner is the lowest combined difference of the two scores. The first day saw a number of the young score well, notably Quint Van Beek, Bernhard Abele, Nicky Beck and Ruud Critien. Among them were a number of senior members, including Richard Bradshaw, John Lewis and Paul Stoner. All these competitors scored between 38 and 40 stableford points. It is a joy to watch the low handicappers. The young – two of them only 16 years old and the other two in their early 20s – can reach the
par 5s (that is 500 yards) in two shots and have the chance of getting a par or birdie. Equally so they are unfortunately capable of getting a boggy on the par 3s (160 yards) – Bernhard Abele and Quint Van Beek did just this on both the 16th and 17th
hole. At this late stage it was becoming clearer just who the winner would be – however even at the 18th Quint Van Beek would not give in and duly drove the green to finish with a 3 and a medal score of 70 to give him third place. Bernhard Abele finished with a net 67 to clinch first place and Nicky Beck with 68 came second. Andrew Zarb Mizzi, Executive Director at RTFX Ltd presented the prizes to the winners. As well as the three top prizes for the combined two days there was a prize for the winner of the first day, which was Richard Bradshaw and Steven Jones was the winner of the second day. This year, the Royal Malta Golf Club celebrates its 125th anniversary. For more information visit www.royalmaltagolfclub.com
Money / Issue 19 - 57
The heart of travel Money puts luxury and style on its itinerary.
Hublot presents the world premiere of the first watch made with bright red ceramic. The Red ’n’ Black Skeleton Tourbillon is the result of an international patent application and embodies the full innovative capacity of the Hublot manufacture. The Red ’n’ Black Skeleton Tourbillon pays tribute to the red of Monaco for the fifth edition of the Only Watch auctions, to be held in Monaco this September.
Travel in first class with the Sennheiser MM550-X Travel noise-cancelling headset. Part of Sennheiser’s awardwinning Mobile Music series, the MM550-X cuts out the background noise on an airplane or in a busy airport terminal while delivering nextgeneration audio quality.
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Something to write home about Travel back to an elegant time and write home while on your grand tour. This wood and leather writing set by Pinetti Lettera is your perfect travel companion.
Show me the money This stylish currency wallet by Thomas Lyte is made of grained leather and has four pockets where you can place different currencies while travelling. Simple and sleek.
Around the world Pack your essentials and travel the world in style with this Louis Vuitton backpack.
Pick your pocket
Handle the heat in style with this plaid linen trilby hat by Borsalino. Crafted using lightweight, unlined linen for maximum breathability.
With its traditionally sharp eye for detail, Oliver Sweeney has collaborated with Timur Kim to produce this elegant silk pocket square collection.
Just in case Part of the HermĂ¨s AW/13 collection, these e-cover silk cases include three primary pieces: an iPad case, an iPad Mini case and another case for the iPhone 5. Batik-inspired, these slip on cases are a perfect marriage of silk and leather.
Top of the dock Thom Browne has reinterpreted the classic leather brogue boat shoes and come up with a symphony in bold red, off-white and navy shades.
Money / Issue 19 - 59
Food and travel writer Mona Farrugia edits www.planetmona. com and runs Angelica in Valletta. www. angelicamalta.com
The deer hunter Mona Farrugia enjoys the thrill of the hunt in Mauritius.
ionel Merven has ushered me into his bedroom. From then we move on to a closet adjacent to his bedroom. We are in the villa topping his father’s sprawling estate in the hills outside Port Louis in Mauritius, and have just spent the past hour chatting outside on the terrace sipping tea and drinking wine. It’s the perfect winding down after a hard drive to get here. Lionel is French and plays for his country’s national rugby team for his country. At the end he brings out his calendar to show it to me. French rugby players’ calendars are not about clothes. Or about rugby. There are a lot of strategically placed oval balls though. I nod and flick through it. Regardless of the position I find myself in, there is nothing sexy about this, unless, of course, one is turned on by guns. Here there are plenty of them. Massive rifles adorn the walls. Lionel throws a few scores of bullets on his bed and hands me a terrifically heavy specimen. “You like it?” he asks me in that fuzzy French accent so proliferate in Mauritius, which was once a colony. “Erm…yes,” I reply. We are going hunting for deer and since I have never
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hunted or shot anything in my life – in fact until I arrived here, the very notion was quite abhorrent – I really have no idea what to say. I eat meat though, and plenty of it, and I adore venison. So today I’m going to catch my own dinner. It is late afternoon and the sun is dappling the green hills at the Domaine St Denis, the estate. We set off, armed and camouflaged. “There they are,” Lionel says, pointing at a few scores of Bambis and their mums and dads. “The trick,” he continues, “is to be kind. And to be kind, you need to be a good shot. You shoot to kill and it should not take you more than two bullets to fell your quarry.” The hills are stunning. The green surrounds us and it is magnificent, saturated and obviously blessed, like the rest of L’Isle Maurice, with its own rainy, sunny eco-system. Brought to Mauritius in 1638 by Adriaan Van der Stel, the rusa deer is native to the islands of Java in Indonesia. In just 50 years, they had made their home in Mauritius, bred and multiplied to a point where hunting became
sustainable and venison a part of many people’s staple food. Our meander opens a whole new world – it’s like a documentary in high definition, without the David Attenborough voice-over. We spot pink pigeons, kestrels, Mauritian fodies, paradise flycatchers and the Mauritian flying fox, hanging, upside down as is their wont, in trees. The flying fox is a fruit bat and boy do they eat. Domaine St Denis also has its own gangs of boar. I’d rather shoot those ugly little critters, I thought to myself, only realising quite quickly that I’d said it aloud. “There is a very specific time and situation for the boar hunt,” Lionel says, “and we’re too late today. Down you go.” His six foot two frame is already sprawled on the grass, gun expertly pointing towards a herd, innocently grazing. He shows me how to point and shoot and warns me that the surprise will be double: one from the recoil and the other from the sound. Then he shoots. He misses and the deer shoot off in different directions. Lionel doesn’t like it. I have high expectations of his expertise and he wants to prove a point,
Where to stay in Mauritius Sugar Beach A wonderful, colonial-style building with its own kilometres of private beach, private villas and two pools: one general one and a quiet one where you can spend days reading and sprawling away from the squeals of children. If you have a family, Sugar Beach is the place to go as they will be occupied constantly with anything from mini golf to sailing. Food is top notch.
man to woman. So we set off in the wet grass and mud to find another herd. We walk for at least 15 minutes while he examines the ground for their paths. The air is humid and hot. It is August and for the best part of the one week I have been here, it has not stopped raining. When one considers that most people go to Mauritius for its crystalline seas and its outstanding resorts, having something else to do rather than wait around for hours for the sun to come out becomes important. Surprisingly the restaurant scene on the island is practically dead. There is only Jacqueline Dellal running a high-end restaurant. The rest are tourist- and locals-oriented Chinese places. If you want to eat well, you need to stick to your resort, which is acceptable in the Maldives where you are completely cut off on your island resort, but not really somewhere so large. “Down,” Lionel exhorts again. I squiggle, flat on the grass. He takes a deep breath and positions the gun. Click. The bullet leaves it and suddenly I realise that the huge steer which had been staring our way from 300 metres away is lying flat on the ground. Lionel has kept his word – quick, precise and with no prolonged pain factored into the equation for the animal.
“And now we go and get it.” The hunt, priced according to quarry – anything from €350 for a one-year old to a gold medal, an eight year old male with over 75 cm antlers costing €5500 – is over. Apparently the Japanese are huge fans. I can imagine groups of Japanese men going for the most expensive option and then hauling the massive antlers like a crown back to Nippon. We find the corpse in a field which, now that the rest of the herd has skipped away, looks bare. A bunch of men suddenly appear in a pick-up truck and between them, they haul the huge deer onto the back. We get into the front and drive to the abattoir, a huge garage on the estate fitted with massive showers and grilles in the ground. The animal is washed down. “It’s ok,” they say. “We’ll understand if you want to wait outside.” But of course I don’t. I watch as they haul it onto a winch and hang it. Then one of them slides a massive knife into the stomach area and starts the butchering process. The innards splatter on the floor. The blood stinks. We walk back to the house for some
Le Touessrok For the absolute height in chic, this is a Leading Hotels of the World member. The Givenchy Spa is a place of absolute bliss, the beaches are outstanding and so is the food. Snorkelling, swimming and water sports are excellent. For absolute silence, wade out to the lounger for two in the middle of the ocean – the staff will bring your things – and never, ever forget your factor 50 sunscreen.
excellent red wine and another chat while Lionel’s butler fusses around us, bossing the kitchen boys around to prepare supper. Lionel’s girlfriend’s driver drops her off – she is French and they hop between France and Mauritius as a matter of course – to join us. Venison, grilled simply and accompanied with salad, is served. The sun has now set, an explosion of red and turquoise, and the hills are silent. The bats are awake and circling overhead. The darkness has covered everywhere and from where we are we can see the dimpling lights of the island. Something rustles in the undergrowth and a hurry of hooves thunders by. There’s life out there.
Money / Issue 19 - 61
New York The Bluesman is a Maltese sound engineer working in New York.
The Bluesman’s blog People shop till they drop. Others drop dead. The Bluesman survives another month in New York.
mericans are shoppers. Whether it’s a giant mall, local strip mall or the 99 cent store down the road, people walking past ask each other, “Do we need anything from here?” And they’ll trudge in and look around and out they come with whatever seemed like the best bargain that day. It’s not so much greed as a natural impulse generated by a comfortable level of disposal income. Born maybe, in better times and before the economy was kicked into this hard to control freefall by the people everybody loves to hate – them evil bankers. It might not be possible to pick up the high dollar items as frequently, but the low cost of consumer goods and the availability of virtually around the clock shopping feeds this frenzy. If Saks is out of reach, there’s Macy’s. Too pricey? Then the megalomart trinity of Target, K-Mart or Walmart beckons. Of which, the last is by far the most mega. With its massive stores and 24/7 opening hours, and goods ranging from groceries to furniture, clothing, electronics and car accessories, it attracts all kinds – the dress code of whom has been thoroughly covered in those photographs making the e-mail rounds as the people of Walmart. The Walmartians. Walmart Stores Inc is the epitome of the American success story. Founded by an Arkansas businessman and former JC Penney employee Sam Walton in 1962 and whose family still own 48 per cent of what is now the largest retailer in the world employing about two million people. In Mexico it’s Walmex, in the UK, it’s Asda, in India it’s Best Price, and in Japan, it’s Seiyu. At the opposite end of the scale are the people who have slipped through the cracks in the economic floorboards of the American dream. I have previously mentioned this one guy who spends his day sitting on a box next to a private club in Midtown. A fixture tolerated, indulged even, as unofficial watchman. One doctor on the smart Upper West Side even allows the guy on his block to use the garden hose to wash up. I have taken to passing books along to our box guy as he’s quite the avid reader. I handed him a Michael Crichton a couple of days ago for which he thanked me then looked at it, “Oh, I think I’ve read this one, but I’ll read it again.” On a tragic note barely two days before Hofstra University’s Commencement ceremonies we had the tragic (and needless) death of a student living barely a block away from the campus. A police officer responding to the call found two girls outside while 21-year-old Andrea Rebello was being held hostage. It seems that the terms “hostage resolution” and “back-up” were not in this officer’s lexicon and he enters and confronts the intruder.
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Guns were pointed and he blasts eight shots killing the perp and putting a bullet in Andrea’s head. Fools rush in! Barely nine days after this incident a man with mental health issues creating a disturbance from his apartment was shot and killed by a cop in New Rochelle, just north of NYC. According to neighbours the officer pulled his taser, but somehow used his handgun. Unfortunately Law Enforcement doesn’t realize that “drop your weapon” only works with peaceful citizens or on television. This, coupled with a no-back-off attitude and a swagger introduced by then Mayor Giuliani among his ‘ace’ gang busting teams has resulted in many people wrongfully killed. Most of the time it’s all airbrushed by the time it gets to court and the officer exonerated as “procedure was adhered to”. Nobody wants a toothless police force, but I wouldn’t want to be rescued unless by someone with a cool head and who is totally conscious of his target and surroundings. Finally, a look at the financial weather. Doing what I do, I get to sit through numerous meetings held
by financial institutions. If one were to believe all the prognosticators, one would be a very confused puppy. Up. Down. Bull. Bear. Not yet, 18 more months. Take your pick. The happy ones are the lawyers checking the fine print. Under this president, whose opponents love to paint as a socialist and borderline commie, the S & P 500 registered its biggest gain since the Great Depression. This consumer boost came after home prices in the US saw their best annual rise in seven years. These numbers may not necessarily indicate that all is right but things are going in the right direction – contrary to the opposing pundits’ battle cry, quoting a Wall Street Journal March 2009 editorial back then and with much repetition, that “The weak stock market was a direct result of investors evaluating Mr Obama’s agenda and his approach to governance.” Also one of Mitt Romney’s favourite talking points and also amplified many times by House Majority Leader John Boehner. Who, by the way, prefers his surname pronounced Bayner as opposed to Boe-ner. Obviously concerned about looking like another Dick, er, Cheney.
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A contemporary outlook on business, lifestyle and design. Money brings together Malta’s top business and finance experts and the media expe...
Published on Jun 24, 2013
A contemporary outlook on business, lifestyle and design. Money brings together Malta’s top business and finance experts and the media expe...