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New York new york


Interview with Charles Borg and Ron van Maarschalkerweerd

By Andrea Forbes

Interview with The Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Mallia



BEAUTY Lies in the Detail

when food meets GENIALITY

Interview with Chef & Entrepreneur Marvin Gauci

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Produced by traveller executive issue 9 3



Malta (LMML) VIP Terminal – Advantages for Business Aviation and the Executive Traveller Situated just off the main aircraft parking area, the VIP Terminal provides travellers with privacy and efficiency. It is situated not far from the main terminal and caters for VIPs, business jet travellers and passengers wishing to travel in style. It has been specifically designed to make ones travel experience as stress-free and exclusive as possible. Complete with own immigration and security to guarantee a swift transition from aircraft to land side and vice-versa. All standard travelling procedures can be processed through the comfort of the VIP Terminal, without the need to queue or wait, allowing passengers to relax at the VIP lounge until aircraft is ready for departure. Average transition time from drop off to plane or vice-versa – 5 to 15 minutes Contact us for more details on or +356 999 00 747


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Our country is emerging as one of the best performing Eurozone economies notwithstanding the political and economic crisis that has hit hard on other European states. The recipe for such success lies in the ability of our country to consolidate key sectors in which it has well performed over the past years and to successfully venture into other niche segments including the aviation sector. One of the major developments in Malta’s well performing economy is the aviation industry, which is attracting high profile companies in the sector to set up operations in Malta. The government’s objective is to create a cluster specifically for the aviation sector where Malta can attract and support the growth of a number of businesses. This edition seeks to provide a holistic picture of the international aviation industry by bringing together the major players in the sector as well as the local aviation perspective by means of key interviews. This edition touches on other major components of the local economy. Specific focus is dedicated to the yacht and super yacht industry. Malta owes its attractiveness also to ancillary sectors including the food and fashion industries. In this light, this edition includes an interview with Charles and Ron who are regarded as one of the major exponents in the fashion industry and Marvin Gauci who is definitely one of the major talents the local food industry has ever produced. We trust this edition will provide you with a better insight into Malta’s attractiveness and wish you all a pleasant reading. Andrea Trapani Editor and Publisher / Omar Vella Editor

The Makers

Publishing Editor Andrea Trapani

Omar Vella

Advertising Executive

Rebecca Pace


Polidano Press



Special thanks for the production of the 9th edition goes to Executive Aviation Malta as the main contributor and sponsor, as well as all other contributors for their time and images. We also thank all advertisers for their support to ensure the constant growth of the magazine.


For advertising in our next issue, please send an email to Ms Rebecca Pace on or +356 9944 1432, +356 7988 4888.

Aviapros International Ltd


Executive Traveller Magazine is distributed for free to top hotels and venues, and is available at local and international business aviation conventions. Disclaimer: Particular attention has been given to ensure that all the content of this magazine is correct and up to date as on date of issue. The views expressed in the articles and technical papers are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher. While every care has been taken during production, the publisher does not accept any liability for errors that may have occurred. Copyright© 2017.

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BEYOND ORDINARY EXPERIENCES Visit to explore opportunities tailored exclusively around you.





SERVICING the AVIATION INDUSTRY Interview with Tom Jansen



sr technics to expand their facilities in malta maltese tax aspects of aviation

10 New York

new york By Andrea Forbes

14 THE business

aviation INDUSTRY Interview with Dan Hubbard

18 THE mediterranean

super yacht industry


THE CROWD Interview with The Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Mallia


SUCCESS Interview with Joseph Calleja

26 Delivering excellence

in the maritime sector Interview with Anthony Cassar

30 A LEADING PORT OF CALL Interview with Dr. Alison Vassallo



36 BEAUTY Lies in

the Detail Interview with Charles Borg and Ron van Maarschalkerweerd

42 when food meets

GENIALITY Interview with Chef & Entrepreneur Marvin Gauci

46 A MASTER IN THE KITCHEN Interview with Chef Bruno Barbieri

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SERVICING the AVIATION INDUSTRY Interview with Tom Jansen, Managing Director and Martin Thijssen, Technical Director Aviation Cosmetics, Malta


he aviation sector in Malta has developed into a significant player in the local economy. In 2014 this sector accounted for 3.4% of the total workforce. In recent years, the local aviation industry has attracted several key global players amongst which Aviation Cosmetics. Aviation Cosmetics Malta, Ltd. (ACMalta) is a company which specializes in the painting of aircraft. Their new facility at the Malta International Airport is a dedicated aircraft paint shop, where they service aircrafts of all makes and models, including the largest passenger aircraft in the world. Tom Jansen, Managing Director and Martin Thijssen, Technical Director - Aviation Cosmetics, Malta shared with us their experience in Malta and their projects for the future.


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What attracted you to Malta? Our relationship with Malta goes back to some years ago when we were providing service to Air Malta. This gave us the opportunity to visit the island on a regular basis. When the management felt the need to expand further our operations internationally, Malta was a natural choice. The country’s geostrategic location combined with excellent logistics and a highly skilled labour force strengthened our determination to set base in Malta. The process was lengthy and with numerous challenges yet with the aid of the government, Malta Enterprise, and other key entities, Aviation Cosmetics is successfully operating from Malta. What are the pros and cons of operating from another country? For any company contemplating expanding into a new market, the advantages and disadvantages of setting up a branch or foreign subsidiary

are very subjective and depend on the business opportunities, as well as the cultural and regulatory climate of the specific country. While some business issues are universal, other elements are more country-specific. Our experience offered us several advantages including the possibility to be granted space to build a state of the art facility which will ensure a medium and long term growth for our company. We also consider ourselves lucky for the support we were given by the government and other entities. Investing in a foreign country also offered us the possibility to access funds and grants available by the local government. On the other hand, the major challenge for us was to understand how the country operates and that took more time than expected. How has the aviation industry developed over the past decade? The global airline industry continues to grow rapidly. Much of that growth has been driven by low-cost carriers (LCCs), which now control some 25 percent of the worldwide market and which have been expanding rapidly in emerging

markets. Flying is more popular than it has ever been. Once seen as a luxury that only a privileged few could afford, air travel has become a genuine form of mass transport over the past few decades. The increasing demand has put further pressure on infrastructure that is already struggling to cope with demand. Runways, terminals, security and baggage systems, air traffic control, and a whole raft of other elements need to be expanded. Moreover, airlines are called to grow sustainably and improve the service they offer. What impact had the recent political and economic crisis on the aviation industry? The impact of any political and economic crisis tends to affect every industry. The aviation industry is no exception. Indeed, the market has definitely shifted downward. It is worth reiterating how during the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the demand for air travel fell and people who had to fly were looking at cheaper fares, which explained the flourish of budget carriers and the misfortune of major carriers. However, air travel demand is still very strong and will remain that way as

flying is no longer a luxury but a bus ride. Notwithstanding political and economic crisis that hit international markets, people need to travel to access markets, to meet clients and to spend time with their loved ones. Where do you see the company heading in the years to come? The company is growing at a very fast pace. Leading airlines in the wide body market are interested in our service and we are expecting to have full capacity within eighteen months. executive traveller

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sr technics

to expand their facilities in malta S

R Technics signs a memorandum of understanding with the intention to grow its Malta operations

May 3, 2017 – Zurich, Switzerland: SR Technics, a world leading MRO service provider, has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Malta Enterprise and Malta Industrial Parks Limited in order to assess the possibility of expanding its current operations in Malta. As part of the MOU, Malta Enterprise will assess the possibility of making land available at Malta International Airport for SR Technics to expand its facilities. SR Technics will assess the opportunity to enhance its current operations at Malta International Airport. The parties intend to conclude their assessments with an aim to sign the binding contracts later this year. “We are excited to explore this new opportunity with Malta Enterprise and Malta Industrial Parks Limited to further develop our presence in Malta,” said SR Technics CEO Jeremy Remacha. “Malta offers an ideal location with a suitable business environment and a highly skilled workforce to deliver our operations. We are assessing a possibility to build a modern MRO facility which would allow us to significantly increase our capacity over the coming years.” “SR Technics is today a significant contributor to the success of Malta’s aviation cluster” Malta Enterprise CEO Mario Galea stated. “This growth is underpinned by the quality and efficiency of the Maltese workers and by the positive business environment in Malta. We are very pleased that SR Technics has chosen Malta for exploring the possibility to invest in an ambitious expansion project. This is another testament that

“SR Technics is today a significant contributor to the success of Malta’s aviation cluster” Malta and its people can deliver and enterprises here can prosper in an economy which is recording record growth every year”. The SR Technics narrow-body aircraft maintenance center at Malta International Airport provides base and heavy maintenance services and cabin modifications, combining proven quality and technical excellence with advantageous commercial terms. The current service portfolio in Malta is focused on the maintenance of the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737NG. In cooperation with Aviation Cosmetics Malta, the company also provides Lease-End Transitioning Services for the Airbus A319, A320 and A321, offering flexible options for maintaining a modern fleet.

maltese tax aspects of aviation W

hile Malta is one of the smallest European states, it is home to the largest shipping register in Europe. This fact is no surprise as Malta has always been well known for the role it plays in the international field due to its location in the heart of the Mediterranean. Malta was historically used as a hub for the carriage of goods and has since flourished into a reputable centre for international business in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Some years back the Maltese Government refined its aviation related laws with the objective of emulating the success in the maritime industry. As can be noted from the graph the amendments contributed to a rapid increase in the number of aircraft registrations in Malta. This is evidence that the island state has all the right ingredients in place to make it a suitable jurisdiction for aircraft registration.

250 200 150 100 50 0 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 Number of Aircraft on the Malta Aircraft Register/Year (1964-2015)

In addition to aviation laws, a number of factors have contributed to Malta’s success, most notably accession to the EU in 2004, adopting the Euro currency in 2008, the use of English as the business language (with all documentation and laws being in English) and the attractive, flexible, efficient tax system, which was formally sanctioned by the EU Commission. Today, Malta has successfully cemented its leading position as a reputable jurisdiction for multinational groups and continues to grow as a hub for aircraft business. In recent years Malta has become a jurisdiction of choice in the fields of aircraft maintenance, aircraft registration and aircraft leasing - Lufthansa Technic, SR Technics and VistaJet all have substantial presence in Malta. Maltese tax advantages are available both on a company level (see Tax Refund System below) and also on a personal level, where certain management positions in the aviation industry attract a personal tax rate of only 15%. Tax Refund System As part of Malta’s imputation tax system which eliminates economic double taxation, Malta has embedded in its fiscal legislation a system of tax refunds. Maltese resident companies, including a foreign company with a branch in Malta, first pay tax on their profits at 35%. Upon a subsequent distribution of these taxed profits, whether derived from local or foreign sources (other than from immovable property situated in Malta), the shareholders would be entitled 8

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to a full or partial refund of the tax paid by the company, generally resulting in an effective Malta tax charge of between 0% and 6.25%. Aircraft Leasing Over the last few years, the use of Malta for aircraft leasing structures has seen a sharp increase. Companies engaged in aircraft leasing transactions may benefit from Malta’s tax refund system, however, the tax treatment will vary depending on whether the lease is an operating lease or a finance lease. Operating Lease In an operating lease, the lessor would be entitled to tax depreciation on the value of the aircraft frame and aircraft engine at 16.7% per annum as well as a tax depreciation on interiors and other parts at 25% per annum. Through the application of the tax refund system, although the lessor will be subject to tax at 35%, the effective Malta tax charge will be reduced to between 0% and 6.25%. Furthermore, a disposal of the aircraft can be structured such that this would not attract any Maltese tax liability. Finance Lease In a finance lease scenario, the lessor will be taxable in Malta on the finance charge, with deductions allowable for any finance cost. Same as in an operating lease scenario, although the lessor will be subject to tax at 35% on its taxable income, the tax refund system will reduce the effective Malta tax charge to a maximum of 6.25%. Upon a disposal of the aircraft there are no tax consequences in Malta. A

Paul Pace Ross Director Tax and Corporate Services KPMG in Malta

Simon Xuereb Director Private Client and Global Mobility Services KPMG in Malta

Alternative Planning Opportunity Where the lessor or lessee is a company that is resident but non-domiciled in Malta i.e. although incorporated outside Malta it is managed and controlled in Malta, it would only be subject to tax in Malta upon: • any income arising in Malta; and • any chargeable gains arising in Malta; and • any income arising outside of Malta which is received in / remitted to Malta. In terms of Malta’s source rules, any income derived from the ownership, leasing and operation of aircraft or aircraft engines, which is used for or employed in the international transport of passengers or goods, is deemed to be arising outside of Malta. Therefore, a resident non-domiciled company will only be taxable in Malta if it receives its income in Malta. Where the income is not received in Malta there would be no tax liability in Malta.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

NEW YORK NEW YORK By Andrea Forbes


here are some cities that contain such a force of energy that when people ask you to describe them all you can say is that they must visit at least once in their lifetime without being able to give a specific reason. New York City is one of those places. Yes it is chaotic, yes it is loud, yes it is unapologetic and sometimes (ok, often) the New Yorkers are rude. But it is bursting with life on every corner and you are guaranteed to feel like you are quite possibly standing at the center of the world thinking to yourself ‘Is this actually real?’ Driving into New York City from the airport is an experience in itself. Around halfway there, that iconic skyline draws itself into full glorious view and renders every visitor wide-eyed in awe and bursting with excitement. Even if it is 3am, you have just had a 15 hour flight and all you want to see is the back of your eyelids - don’t! New York is really the city that never sleeps. Any time of the day and anywhere in the city you will find things happening within 5 blocks of you.

Does it sound cliché? Totally Most visitors will start their New York adventure in Times Square - a place so often depicted in films that you will feel like you have already been there. Take a stroll through the heart of New York, wave at yourself on the jumbo screens filming tourists, pick up a souvenir or two and strike a pose with the ever-present Naked Cowboy (he wears white briefs unfortunately). Once your feet are throbbing and your arms are laden with shopping bags full of stuff you weren’t planning on buying, make your way to Central Park. There you can pick up a $2 pretzel and sit by the lake watching musicians and artists while runners and bikers whizz athletically by. Does it sound cliché? Totally. But there are few times in one’s life that you have the opportunity to feel as though you are an actor on a movie set. So go ahead, indulge yourself. After having ticked off all the major sights, make sure to attend one of the hundreds of shows New York has to offer. There are shows for all tastes and your

concierge will be more than happy to find tickets at a reasonable price. If there is one not to miss, it would have to be ‘Stomp’. Held at the Orpheum Theatre on the lower east side of Manhattan, it’s tagline is ‘The Rhythm of New York’ and this could not be any truer as you will be immersed in two hours of pure body-moving, finger-snapping, head-bopping, garbage-drum-beating energy. A trip to the Big Apple is not complete unless you leave with a belly full of food from all corners of the world. The ubiquitous and huge New York pizza slices, street corner hot-dogs, surprisingly authentic Asian food, mouthwatering Cuban sandwiches, the choices are endless. A personal favorite is a small Japanese restaurant just off Times Square called Sapporo. Their Katsudon rice dish is as close to heaven gets in a bowl and finished off with an icecold Asahi beer it is the perfect way to recharge your batteries before hitting the streets again in search of more adventure.

The Rhythm of New York Whether you are visiting for the first time or the fiftieth, there is always something new to discover in this wonderful, pulsating city. One thing for sure is that you will leave with a pocketful of new memories and not much spare change for that Statue of Liberty magnet you promised your mum you will buy her on your way out.

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THE business aviation INDUSTRY Interview with Dan Hubbard Senior Vice President, Communications, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)


he business aviation industry has evolved across the decades, as the business marketplace itself has evolved, continually becoming more globalized, and requiring ever-faster access to clients, markets and employees. Notwithstanding the economic crisis that has hit hard on all global markets, business aviation continues to play a key role and is today regarded as a necessity rather than a luxury. Dan Hubbard, Senior Vice President, Communications, at NBAA, shared with us his views and forecast on the business aviation sector.

Rep. Bill Flores once stated that business aviation is a business enabler, giving companies the freedom to compete successfully.� To what extent do you agree? We welcome Congressman Flores’s comments, and fully agree with his statement. He is one of many elected officials who have spoken in favour of this industry. Business aviation offers companies of all sizes, all around the world the possibility to reach customers wherever they are, and even to conduct business enroute. Business aviation is also an economic multiplier, generating thousands of direct and indirect jobs across the globe. How has the business aviation industry changed over the past years? The process of globalization has increased transnational trade, thus demanding quicker accessibility to markets. Business jets are today used by corporations, individuals, and leasing firms as tools to enhance business productivity by transporting employees, customers, suppliers, and even parts or other assets quickly, often to locations not easily accessible through commercial airline service. To meet the specific needs of customers, business aircraft have evolved in size, capacity, and capability, ranging from small-cabin models designed for traveling short distances to larger-capacity jets with transoceanic capabilities.

There seems to be an emphasis by the industry that business aviation is not a luxury but a necessity. What are your views on such statement? We agree. Recent decades have seen rapid growth of the world economy. This growth has been driven in part by the even faster rise in global trade, the result of both technological developments and concerted efforts to reduce trade barriers. Today’s top performing businesses need every possible advantage to succeed in the most competitive marketplace ever. Today, business opportunities arise suddenly in the most distant or remote locations. Companies need rapid access to new markets, whether advancing agriculture Africa, visiting a business operation in Brazil, or closing a deal with a client in Indonesia. No matter what country a business is located in, when examining the complexity of multiday or international business trips, the commercial option is sometimes impractical from a scheduling perspective. This has led to a growing demand for business aviation. Employee time savings is also a fundamental benefit of business aviation. How has the recent international economic crisis affected the industry? Business aviation is very closely tied to national and regional economies, and that has been the case in recent years, as economies around the world gradually

Budgets are tighter and passengers want more for less. recover from recession. Across those years, we have witnessed changes taking place: Budgets are tighter and passengers want more for less. In line with the changing market, new services and business models are emerging to meet their evolving requirements, and more demanding customers. What prospects should we expect for the business aviation industry? We are not in the forecasting business, but when we take a long-term view, we have reason for optimism that the business aviation industry will continue to grow out of market necessity, which calls for faster access to clients, staff and markets. The business aviation industry today is showing gradual, but continued signs of growth, and improved business conditions are creating a favourable environment for a further growth of the business aviation sector. executive traveller

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THE mediterranean

super yacht industry A

recent study commissioned by the Malta Institute of Management provides a very detailed analysis of the current super yacht industry in the Mediterranean region. The report also sheds further light on the impact the industry has on the Maltese economy. The study analyses the current and future potential contribution of the super yacht industry to the Maltese economy in terms of the generation of value added and employment and its strategic fit with other policy initiatives. Moreover, the study provides justification for further government support to the sector in the light of the impressive growth Malta experienced over the past five years in the super yacht industry. The support is further substantiated by the degree of privatization and economic mobilisation of operators across the island. The super yacht industry is highly condensed in the Mediterranean. Yet, it is important to note that other centres are


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gaining importance. Italy is considered as the major business player within the Mediterranean region being also the world’s largest builder accounting for 31% of all builds.

servicing the needs of the firms included in (i), and (iii) business which benefit from the expenditure induced by the income generated within sectors directly related to super yachts.

Malta’s role within the super yacht industry is in part defined by the fact that Europe is the leading region for super yacht building, with a market share of 79% in 2014. Malta’ is located in close proximity to this activity and has a strong economic maritime tradition and vocation which has been under-utilised in the past decades. Malta is focussed more on refit and maintenance as there are currently no building facilities.

On this basis, the super yacht industry has directly generated around €67.1 million in direct value added, translating in approximately 1,600 jobs accounting for 0.78% of GDP and 0.81% of gainfully occupied respectively in 2015. Including the indirect effects, the value added generated is estimated at €96.4 million, involving around 2,300 jobs. The overall economic contribution including also the induced multiplier effects across the economy is estimated at €139 million (1.63% of GDP), generating 3,291 jobs.

The major operator in the local super yacht industry is Palumbo Malta Superyachts under the Columbus Yachts brand. The economic contribution generated from expenditure by super yachts is considered at three distinct levels, namely as it affects (i) business which is the direct recipient of such expenditure (e.g. shipyards, marinas, chandlers, providers of goods and services to yachts, etc.), (ii) business which is indirectly affected by

Notwithstanding the advantages, the super yacht industry offers several challenges to the country. From the human capital perspective, employees working in the yards are knowledgeable and well trained with the majority reaching retirement in a few years’ time. This is worrying within a context where there are no vocational course offerings to attract young workers to join the industry. In terms of market demand, Malta is located

in close proximity to regions which are encountering political instability which could deter business. An infrastructural shortcoming is the limited capacity of yards and marinas to cater for business growth which will hinder local industry from benefitting from the expected global growth. The limited air connectivity to the South of France is identified as the main weakness for Malta to serve as a logistical base. On the other hand, Malta’s competitive fiscal, legal and corporate support structures are attractive to business whilst co-operation between operators renders the possibility to offer a comprehensive service. In the light of the opportunities for further growth the super yacht industry offers to Malta, the study spells out five key recommendations. The study promotes vocational education targeting specifically this sector to overcome the threat of an ageing population and skills gaps amongst the younger generation in the future. It also stresses on the need for improved air connectivity to the South of France through a direct flight to enhance Malta’s position as a logistical base thereby

placing Malta at par with other competitor has to offer, building on the strengths countries. The report also stresses and the achievements achieved by Malta on the need for extension of marina to-date. developments through the construction of breakwaters to increase capacity through In the light of these findings, the study more berthing makes a case for further spaces. It also Government support to encourages the the super yacht industry The overall economic strengthening of towards ensuring the actual and the implementation contribution including perceived security of the five policy also the induced arrangements, recommendations multiplier effects especially within listed above. This the context of the is considered as across the economy instability in North essential to sustain is estimated at â‚Ź139 African countries. and build upon the million (1.63% of GDP), success registered Moreover, the report promotes generating 3,291 jobs. by the country over the exploitation the last five years of the potential following privatisation synergies with high-end real estate of the yards and marinas, which led to developments in attracting global high significant improvements in terms of net worth communities to reap additional employment opportunities and value spill-over in other sectors of the Maltese added. Of particular importance and economy. urgency in this regard are new concessions for both yards and marinas to ensure that The consideration of such Malta overcomes existing binding capacity recommendations by policy makers, limitations that will be seriously hindering including as necessary private sector the local industry from benefitting from involvement, is of utmost importance to the global growth expected in the super reap the opportunities that the industry yacht sector. executive traveller

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STANDING OUT OF THE CROWD Interview with The Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Mallia Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy


alta has all the necessary ingredients to develop into a leading maritime centre in the Mediterranean. Our natural ports and traditional culture combined with the island’s political stability, a well-respected flag, a robust legislative framework and an efficient administration offer opportunities for further growth in the local yacht and super yacht industry. Government is firmly committed to ensure Malta maximizes its potential in the yacht and super yacht industry. The Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Mallia, Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy shared with us his views and vision for the local yacht and super yacht industry. How much has Malta’s inherent nature as a maritime nation influenced its drive in the yacht and super yacht industry? Over the years, Malta has become a hub for lucrative sectors such as gaming and finance. This has led to an influx of foreigners from all over the world investing in Malta. Malta’s strong economic strategy, the islands excellent geographical position and political stability are key qualities which are aiding this overall economic growth. We are confident that Malta’s crystal clear waters, scenic beauty, all year round warm weather, the hospitable and English speaking community, a rich multicultural and diverse history, sheltered natural harbours, highly skilled workforce and a safe social environment complimented by a yachting specific economic strategy will contribute to make the yachting industry a key pillar of the Maltese economy. According to a recent report published by the Malta Institute of Management, the yacht and super yacht industry has in 2015 directly and indirectly generated EUR 96.4 million and 2,300 jobs. What is the government’s strategy to ensure a further growth in the industry? Needless to say when it comes to the super yacht industry, apart from its glamour and aesthetic splendor, this important segment gives a strong economic input into any country’s economy. The spillover effect is real and known to many. This administration has heralded two key agencies, which specifically address the super yacht industry as well as high profile yachting events, which do also compliment and enhance the status of any leading yachting destination.Both ‘Malta Marittima’ and ‘Yachting Malta’ are addressing the strategic growth of the sector through the carrying out of research and continual consultation with key stakeholders and industry leaders who are spearheading the progress of yachting in Malta. Between 2017 and 2019 Yachting Malta will be working upon the development of a new super yacht captains and crew taxation strategy, chartering and charter

code improvements, the potential development of new marinas, hard standing facilities and breakwater projects, the development of new policies in relation to the protection of the environment, water surface cleaning systems, the safeguarding of underwater heritage as well as the organization of international conferences and marketing strategies which will promote Malta as a leading yachting destination. Malta’s ‘can-do’ approach is what makes the islands unique. Simple, transparent legislation and procedures and access to key decision-makers make Malta the embodiment of ‘small is beautiful’. The best testimony to this is the experience of major players who have been in Malta for years. This does not mean that there is no room for improvement or that the authorities do not at times fall short of the client’s expectations. But there is a genuine, open approach to guide and assist owners, managers and captains in the process of regulating them. One of the major challenges the yacht and super yacht industry constantly faces is the lack of human resources. How can Malta develop into a centre of training excellence in the industry? We are fully aware about the challenges we face in the skills and trades. The results of a skills gap analysis, which is being planned to be carried out in the near future should serve as a basis for the development of an apprenticeship scheme, which caters for the requirements of the yachting industry. A nautical academy, which caters specifically for super yacht crew, is also being considered since this would provide the necessary training facilities for crew whilst the yacht is berthed in Malta. We are also looking forward to take the lead in the super yacht facilities and services industry by providing an excellent service. We are seeking to improve and guarantee ‘a quality service label’ in the interest of the super yacht clients who will visit us in the years to come as well as in the interest of Malta’s reputation as a yachting destination. How can the local yacht and super yacht industry capitalize further on its geostrategic location? How can the government give a helping hand? Malta’s geographical position has always given the island a special strategic importance - be it for trade, war or pleasure. Today the Mediterranean region is a popular global tourist destination and provides some of the world’s most fascinating yachting experiences. With the most appealing setting and a comprehensive range of facilities, Malta offers a vast range of services: yards, marinas, surveying and multi-service agencies. This all creates the right environment for the island to become a resourceful service centre for every aspect of the super yachts service industry.

Malta is doing well but we are also aware that there is room for growth in various areas of untapped potential. A political stable environment, a positive relationship with other EU Member States, a clear commitment to support business development of high added value services, an attractive fiscal regime, a well respected flag, and an efficient administration create the right environment for this industry to further consolidate and prosper. Malta’s position right at the center of the Mediterranean can offer competitive and high quality super yacht wintering services. For example the reduced VAT rate for charters departing from Malta facilitates the winterizing of super yachts and the start the first charter from Malta. What future do you envisage for Malta in the yacht and super yacht industry? Strategy is fundamental, we are not looking at instant wins alone but also and mainly at the long term and sustainable transformation of the island as a yachting destination of excellence. We are aware that Malta is performing well but we are also aware that there is room for growth in various areas of untapped potential. We need to keep improving our product in order to provide the holistic feel expected by what one can term a “niche, boutique, 7 star super yacht industry”. To be a step ahead and lead the way we need to understand that change, innovation and progress are the constants, which we need to embody in our practices daily. Malta has done well in building fiscal, legal, corporate and registration services. While it is imperative that we continue to develop these, it is also time to shift our focus to other offerings which are even more “value added” and strategically important. This industry took off on the basis of location, low cost, duty free fuel and fiscal incentives, but has to continue evolving. Malta must be a stronger alternative, based on capabilities, improved infrastructure, competence, level of service, reputation and strong relationships. executive traveller

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Driven to Succeed

“Customer Satisfaction Through Reliable & Outstanding Service”.

The careful selection of a high-level fleet of vehicles and hiring the most professional chauffeurs in Malta ensures that our customers always get outstanding service and the best comfort. Testimony to our track record is our ever-growing number of repeat customers both corporate and individual. Our fleet is solely made up of MercedesBenz vehicles, a brand that reflects excellence and luxury. These are the pillars that make up the philosophy behind Dacoby Chauffeur Service. Launched in 2007 by Darren Zarb, Dacoby Chauffeur Service is a family-run business that has proven to be a leader in private transportation in Malta. The services on offer include airport and hotel transfers, point-to-point transportation, private chauffeur service for individuals and groups. With our wide range of vehicle types available in our fleet, we can also accommodate large groups with our luxury mini vans and coaches, perfect for conferences, team-building transfers and corporate events. Our flexibility and experience helps us take on complex requests by our clients who may request a specific or tailor-made service.



Interview with Joseph Calleja, General Manager of Palumbo Malta Shipyard Ltd.


he privatisation process which led to the takeover by the Italian Palumbo family in June 2010 has gradually led to a regeneration and substantial development of the yacht and ship repair industry. Indeed, the Maltese branch of the Palumbo Group has been at the top of its sector contributing a great deal towards the maintenance, conversion and refitting in the merchant shipping and also Passenger RoRo and cruise vessels. The shipyard was also busy in the Oil and Gas refitting sector. The acquisition of this shipyard, which caters for ships of over 300,000 tons, has proven to be a prestigious project for the group, since it has significantly shaped the company’s future thanks to its position in the heart of the Mediterranean. Joseph Calleja, General Manager of Palumbo Malta Shipyard Ltd., assesses the company’s performance on the island and the management’s vision for the years to come.

Our greatest achievement lies in our ability to contribute to Malta’s growth in the maritime sector. What encouraged you to invest in Malta? We always saw a future in the drydocks. The shipyards were like a jewel with a huge potential The country’s geostrategic location, the excellent docks and the reputation of the local labour force are key assets which distinguish Malta from other countries in the marine industry. Over the years we have invested heavily in both the facilities so as to ensure the shipyards’ competitiveness. Our investment is gradually reaching positive results 24

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with an inevitable ripple effect on the Maltese economy. Nevertheless our success should not only be measured from a financial perspective. I believe our greatest achievement lies in our ability to contribute to Malta’s growth in the marine industry. What investment has Palumbo undertaken over the past years to ensure a long term growth in the ship and yacht repair industry? We believe there is a future for Malta’s marine industry and its growth over the past years is a clear proof. In our strategy for the island, we have sought to consolidate the key traditional strengths of the local ship repair industry yet have also adapted and introduced new services in line with the

We are always on the lookout for local skilled workers. requirements of the international market. We have adopted various measures so as to maximise the potential of the shipyards and to offer a more holistic package to our clients. A case in point was the recent conversion of one of the yards’ massive stores complexes, close to the Senglea side of the facilities, into a mini-hotel where crews of multimillion-euro super yachts can stay until their vessel is refitted. We have also introduced a drastic shift in mentality with a more disciplined and organised approach to work thus ensuring better efficiency and competitiveness especially with yard obtaining ISO 9001 certification, The yards are now even more competitive and able to bid for important jobs internationally. As part of the shipyards management regeneration process, the company invests heavily in training locally and abroad. Indeed, we do send our employees on specialised intensive courses in Aberdeen, London and Germany. How do you ensure that you source the best human resources? We are always on the lookout for local skilled workers. Regretfully, not many young persons take ship repair as a career so we have to source human talent from various parts of the world. At the moment we have 140 Maltese working full-time

at the shipyards and a number of local subcontractors yet we do admit the need for us to import foreign workers. We feel it important that experienced skilled workers are involved in the training process so as to avoid losing specific marine skills. From our end, we do our utmost to keep in contact with retired workers so as to help us in the training process yet it is not always easy. What marketing measures does the company invest in to increase Malta’s attractiveness abroad? Our docks are full for almost 80 per cent of the time and we are working to further increase their use. We consider the historical value and richness of the yards as well as the neighbouring cities as the added value over our competition. We pride the richness of the island and shipyards during our presence in fairs and exhibitions across the globe including

the Monaco Boat Show, Seatrade in Miami, US, Sea Asia in Singapore and the Dubai International Boat Show. What are your plans for the future of ship and yacht repair in Malta? We are looking long term. We have a concession for 30 years and we want to make this facility the best in the Mediterranean. So far we are managing to change how ship owners look at our reputation as this is crucial. Still, we need to work harder and need everyone’s cooperation. We are committed to invest further in the shipyard so as to reach our goals. We recently launched a floating structure that can be submerged to permit the admission and docking of large boats in a bid to attract larger boats to Malta for repair is one of a series of investments the company has embarked on so as to increase its competitiveness as a central hub in the Mediterranean basin.

Delivering excellence in the maritime sector Interview with Anthony Cassar, Group Chairman of Cassar Ship Repair Ltd.


assar Ship Repair is synonymous to the local success story in the maritime sector. Indeed for the past fifty years, the company has played a key role to stimulate the maritime industry by attracting key players in the sector towards Malta. The key to their success lies in their ability to wade the storms, to diversify and above all to consistently offer an excellent service. The author of this successful story is Anthony Cassar, Group Chairman of Cassar Ship Repair Ltd. who continues to work hard to ensure a solid future for the company and the local maritime industry. Anthony Cassar shared with us the fundamentals which have led the company over the past decades and his views on the local maritime sector.

How has the local maritime sector developed over the past years? We have been operating in the maritime sector for the past fifty years and must say the industry is very hard to assess. The maritime sector is very inconsistent and fluctuates prosperous phases with very challenging times. The industry is also very reliant on various political, geographic and economic factors which pretty much determine its progress or regress. I tend to compare the maritime sector with the sea. It

than 1,000 merchant ships have been involved in migrant rescue operations, assisting with the rescue of more than 50,000 people. The 1982 United Nations Convention stipulates that any vessel is obliged to provide assistance to vessels in distress, regardless of nationality, cargo or route. Cargo ships are often the first to respond, and often have to divert their journey to take on board any migrants in trouble. Seafarers are faced with life threatening decisions, death, chaos, security and safety

The road ahead is long and not without its challenges is immortal. It only gets ill, yet at the end recovers to its former glory. Our experience in the sector has tought us the fundamental lesson not to limit ourselves to one specific sector and to capitalize on the geostrategic advantage our island offers. Based on this premise, the company offers a vast range of services which include afloat and emergency repair on vessels both inside and outside harbour as well as assistance and riding squad. We also specialise in a broad range of activities from engineering and fabrication work, steelwork and pipe works to electrical works, blasting and painting. What impact did the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean have on the maritime industry? The migrant crisis is probably the most complex and worrying matter for the maritime sector. Over the past three years, more

issues which affect their day to day operations. There is a major concern for the seafarers and shipping companies involved as merchant ships are usually ill-equipped for such large scale humanitarian responses. Does the local maritime industry work together? I believe there is a healthy competition between the main players in the industry. Notwithstanding such competition, I strongly believe, we all share the same conviction that it is in our interest to work together to strengthen the attractiveness of Malta and to counter the stiff competition we all face on the international plane. We all agree that collaboration inevitably leads to further expansion and generates more maritime traffic. How can the government help more the maritime industry? The government supports the industry through various

initiatives which have positioned the island as a maritime hub. Transport Malta is constantly keen to emphasise Maltese flag as one of confidence in various key international platforms including the Monaco Show. Moreover, the recent moves by the Maltese government, including privatising and developing marinas, boosting repair facilities for super yachts and offering reduced rates of VAT, showcase the importance given to the maritime sector. Nevertheless, we feel the government needs to be more understanding and help on key issues which are hindering our growth. A case in point is the current dredging issue we are facing with government which is limiting our work and opportunities for expansion. Where is the local maritime industry heading? Notwithstanding the challenges the local maritime industry faces in terms of adequate human resources, natural limitations related to sea bed depth and limited quay space, the industry is performing well and offers room for further growth. The growth of the maritime industry is well spelt in recent reports which have highlighted the impact the industry has on the local economy. Our geostrategic location together with the excellent service we offer lay a solid basis for a prosperous future. The road ahead is long and not without its challenges. However, the stakeholders within our maritime industry have realised that having a common platform promoting the interest of the industry is a guarantee for future development.

A LEADING PORT OF CALL Interview with Dr. Alison Vassallo-Partner, Fenech & Fenech Advocates


alta has developed into a natural port of call for yachts and super yachts. The island’s natural and infrastructural assets combined with a reputable ship registry and a strong legal system, have seen Malta develop into a key player in the yacht and super yacht industry. Dr. Alison Vassallo, partner at Fenech & Fenech Advocates and head of the firm’s Yachting Department, has shared with us her views on the local yacht and super yacht industry and possible scenarios we should expect in the years to come.


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How would you appraise the super yacht sector in Malta? Malta has over the past 10 years experienced an exceedingly sharp ascent in popularity as a leading superyacht jurisdiction. The advantages offered by Malta can be distinguished between the flag, legal, corporate and tax services on the one hand and the logistical setup which includes marinas and yards and the various service providers who cater to yachts physically calling at Malta on the other. Today, Malta is a world leader in the registration of commercial yachts, the largest European flag and a leading jurisdiction for the provision of corporate, legal and tax services to both owners and financiers of private and commercial yachts. Malta has also over the years built a reputation for the availability of trusted, tried and tested solutions for the tax treatment of yachts, largely due to the fact that these solutions have from the

outset been promulgated and supported by the Government as opposed to being unilaterally devised by private practitioners. From a logistical perspective, due to its geographical location, Malta is excellently placed to offer ser-vices to yacht calling at our shores. The privatisation of marinas and yachting refit facilities over the past years has also formed part of the overall improvement in building Malta’s image and rendering it synon-ymous with yachting. What competitive advantage does Malta enjoy over its competition? Within the context of the yachting industry undergoing significant changes, with the increase in global wealth over the past decade, Malta was in the enviable position of being able to build on the reputation, performance and experience garnered in building and a leading merchant flag and to extend this success to the niche yachting market.

A robust legal system, excellent levels of service provided by the various key players in the industry - in-cluding the regulators - strategic location and a number of legal solutions available to yacht owners and operators has led Malta’s position as a jurisdiction of choice for superyachts to grow dramatically. Over the past 10 years I have witnessed Malta’s position as a one stop jurisdiction for superyachts going from strength to strength and this is by no means a matter of chance. It is the result of hard work in pro-moting Malta overseas through regular attendance at boat shows and conferences, in attracting high net worth individuals to our shores, in ensuring that the level of service offered to owners is slick, reliable and competitive and also of the excellent relationship that we as the private sector are blessed to enjoy with the public sector.

end luxury brands on the island. How can Malta market itself better during key yacht events such as the Monaco show? Experience teaches that consistency, both of presence and attendance at main international events, and also in the delivery of high levels of service, is key. Unsurprisingly the private sector has taken a lead role in making its presence felt in major superyacht events and Transport Malta has for many years set up a stand at the MYS which has proved to be invaluable in so far as clients’ perception of the flag having a hands-on approach to the industry is concerned. Furthermore , the success and continued growth of the sector has over the past years given rise to the formation of a number of organisations, entities, forums, groups and entities, some of which

From the point of view of the local service providers, there is sensitivity to the highly competitive envi-ronment they operate in and the fact that if we are to attract these yachts to our shores, there cannot be any compromise with regard to the quality of the services and level of craftsmanship offered since otherwise owners will simply choose to visit another location. I firmly believe that the key to Malta’s success in this highly demanding and client oriented industry, lies in a supportive and proactive approach adopted by both the Government and the private industry in building a package of services and earning a reputation as a solid, reliable and high standard jurisdiction. The fact that both the private and the public sector are very much on the same page and work hand in hand in the promulgation of this industry is a very precious advantage indeed. What impact has the super yacht’s industry success on the local economy? The number of industries that feed off the superyacht industry is considerable, both in case of a physical call of a superyacht to Malta and also in case where the owner is provided with corporate, flag and advisory services. Besides the more obvious sectors that are directly related to the yacht’s needs, such as marinas, suppliers and yards, the wider entertainment and tourist sectors including bars, restaurants and shopping complexes also benefit from the custom of owners, guests and their crew. In which areas of the local yacht and super yacht industry do you feel we still lag behind? An area of improvement relates to the extent of availability and variety of high

represent a joint initiative between the public and the private sector. While each has its own particular function – I am currently serving as Executive Member and Council Secretary of the Superyacht Industry Network Malta and have just completed a two year chairmanship of the Yachting Services Trade section within the Malta Chamber of Commerce - it always pays for the industry to present a united front in showcasing Malta at international fora and this is where industry organisations and entities play a key role in bringing the various service providers together at international events. What future do you envisage for Malta in the yacht and super yacht industry? We undoubtedly need to safeguard the

inroads achieved so far without resting on our laurels and while seeking to improve those areas that need to be worked on. Chartering represents an example. While the concentration of charters have traditionally and will very much remain scattered in the West Med, as a result of its unique location and proximity to Sicily, Tunisia and Greece, Malta undeniably offers a fascinating option as a starting point to a charter holiday in the Med. This can be amplified through the organisation of field trips for brokers, captains and yards to be provided with a hands on experience of what the island has to offer. As an island that is steeped with history, Malta’s attractiveness as a destination in its own right goes beyond it convenience as a pick up spot. We need to ensure the continued promotion of investment in the development of berthing and marina facilities. We need to improve, promote and draw upon the excellence of the world class facilities and services that can be offered by the various service providers that attend to yachts calling here. The sleekness and competitiveness of service providers that are on the ground continues to gain increased importance. Attending yacht shows and speaking at international conferences has taught me that the industry is in actual effect a very intimate one. Most important is the fact that whereas clients would normally leave their business or estate matters in the hands of their personal lawyers or accountants, where their yacht is involved they often want to personally deal with the person on the other end of the email handling their matters in Malta. The level of service expected is always high and while average levels of service may be acceptable in other areas, within the yachting industry owners are often uncompromising in expecting excellence at all levels.

Alison Vassallo

is a Partner at Fenech and Fenech Advocates in Malta and heads the Yachting Department within the Firm. Her areas of practice also cover Marine Litigation. Alison has served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Yachting Trade Section within the Chamber of Commerce, is a Director of Malta Marittima Agency, Executive Member and Secretary of the Malta Superyacht Industry Network, a Member of the Chamber of Advocates, a Committee Member of the Malta Maritime Law Association (MMLA) and a Board Member of the yachting sub committee formed within the MMLA.

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trio of honey-hued islands surrounded by azure sea, the archipelago of Malta, Gozo and Comino is endowed with a perfect combination of calm Mediterranean waters, clear skies and ideal winds for the best part of the year.


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Not only do these great weather conditions prove most favourable for outdoor exploration and days out in the sun, but much insight into Mediterranean history, landscape and culture is to be gained by embarking on a journey of discovery round these islands by sea. Being on board a boat enables you to experience the Maltese Islands from an altogether different, wide-eyed perspective - through which no landmark, nor any coastal gem, is ever hidden from sight.

HISTORICAL HARBOUR VISTAS & STYLISH MARINAS Malta’s maritime history stretches over millennia back to Phoenician times, when the island’s central Mediterranean location was already acknowledged by the allimportant trade world. Fast-forward to the first half of the 16th century, which saw the Knights of the Order of St John establish their naval base around the Grand Harbour - a role upheld for 268 years. Soon after their departure, this natural harbour lining Valletta

and the Three Cities became a strategic naval-military zone during the British occupation of the islands, which lasted a further 170 years. The Grand Harbour’s maritime significance has been relatively diminished since its turbulent heyday. Even so, grand waterfront buildings that have withstood the test of time still dot the port towns of Valletta, Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea to this very day, proudly bearing witness to the harbour’s glorious past. The town of Vittoriosa prominently features a unique marriage of the historical and contemporary, blending its humble medieval origins with the luxurious elegance of superyachts, stylish harbourside apartments, upmarket waterfront establishments and boutique hotel accommodation adorning the inner haunts. Set in these rich historical surroundings, the prestigious Grand Harbour Marina, complete with first-class berthing facilities, stands in a class of its own. Over to the other side of the Grand Harbour - in Marsamxett Harbour - and further north lie another two marinas: Manoel Island and Portomaso respectively.

The former enjoys panoramic perspectives of Valletta’s spectacular skyline, while the latter offers a host of al fresco dining options with views stretching out into the open sea. Both marinas reflect the pleasures of a laid-back Mediterranean pace - one that is wholly encapsulated in the island’s boating lifestyle.

IDYLLIC BEACHES & SHORELINE TREASURES Whether it’s to work on your tan, bathe in crystal clear waters, or enjoy the sights and sounds of the gentle waves rolling, Malta’s beaches are simply a must-visit at any time of the year. With summer approaching fast, there are exactly ten beaches lining the archipelago’s coast which were awarded Blue Flag status in 2016 - meaning that they meet high standards for water quality, safety, environmental management and services. These are accompanied by numerous other fantastic spots where to lay one’s beach towel and take a dip. Visitors to the Maltese Islands are truly spoilt for choice, with top picks from an array of golden executive traveller

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Whether for business or for pleasure, chartering a yacht in Malta is the ultimate way to discover island treasures and lifestyle highlights with eclectic, pictureperfect scenery as your backdrop for the day.

through to Golden Bay and Ġnejna Bay, continuing all the way south to Wied iżŻurrieq - also deserve a worthy mention.

ir-Rummien, Dwejra Blue Hole and the Blue Lagoon among locals’ and visitors’ favourites.


Cruising along the coast in a more leisurely manner will also reveal new and unfamiliar horizons for those individuals seeking less thrill and more picturesque bounty of land and seascape, warm orange sunsets, evening-lit bastions and haunting harbour views.

The Maltese archipelago is laden with multiple opportunities for becoming more intimately acquainted with the surrounding waters and submarine world.

sand and rocky shores including Mellieħa Bay, Golden Bay, Paradise Bay and Ramla l-Ħamra in Gozo.

For the adventurous traveller types, exhilarating water sports and underwater activities are a key feature of a holiday in the Med - with the chance to kayak, parakite, snorkel and scuba dive one of the world’s best diving destinations promising plenty of fun in the sun.


Reaching these beaches by boat makes for a more privately enjoyable experience. Cruising around Malta also allows closer access to secluded inlets and unspoilt bays which are not easily accessible by car or on foot. The pebbly beach at Fomm ir-Riħ around Mġarr and the natural swimming pool known as St Peter’s Pool on the Delimara peninsula cast themselves as fine examples. The dramatic cliffs along the west coast - from Mellieħa’s Popeye Village

Among the most breathtaking sea beds worth exploring are the reef at Żonqor Point in Marsascala, Għar Lapsi’s deep coves, and the white-sand beach at Paradise Bay in Ċirkewwa. The sister islands of Gozo and Comino boast equally mesmerising dive spots, with Ħondoq

Whether for business or for pleasure, chartering a yacht in Malta is the ultimate way to discover island treasures and lifestyle highlights with eclectic, pictureperfect scenery as your backdrop for the day. Leading yachting specialist Azure Ultra operates fully crewed day, overnight and extended charters - providing holidaymakers and businesses with beyond ordinary experiences in unrivalled Mediterranean settings.

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BEAUTY Lies in the Detail Interview with Charles Borg and Ron van Maarschalkerweerd Owners of Charles & Ron


harles and Ron are synonymous to flair, quality and geniality combined with a strong dose of Mediterranean flavour. Their collections constantly spell out the message to expect the unexpected. Charles and Ron have been at the forefront of local fashion design for a number of years and have now also earned a strong reputation on the international plane. Their work has evolved over the years yet has kept loyal to the local imprint which is spelt out in the detail of their collections. Charles and Ron took us through the key milestones in their career and have shared with us their views on the local and international fashion industry. They also gave us a sneak into their upcoming collection to be displayed during the NY Fashion Week.

What sparked your interest in fashion? We met in Amsterdam way back in 1992, and after travelling back and forth for a couple of months Ron decided to permanently move to Malta. Charles had been sewing clothes from a very young age and I encouraged him to take it up as a profession and this was how our career in the fashion idustry started. We grew into it gradually and made sure to constantly learn and improve our skills. After a while we came across the opportunity to work on a collection together with a close friend of ours, Joseph Fountain. Thanks to him, we had the opportunity to launch our first ever show. Indeed, the event was the spark that triggered us to design and exhibit two yearly collections initially under the “Beatrix” brand. The “Beatrix” label was eventually developed into “Beatrix by Charles & Ron” and later into “Charles & Ron”. How has your work evolved since you developed your own brand? The “Charles & Ron” style has evolved over the years influenced primarily by our own taste and our surroundings. The brand’s Mediterranean setup influences the way we view life, style and fashion. We strongly believe that the process of growth has always been very organic. We always took small steps at a time, and worked very hard to achieve our goals. We are very proud of our flagship store which we opened in Republic Street Valletta at the end of 2015 and also of our boutique inside the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa in Attard. Every new venture brings new challenges and responsibilities, yet are constantly encouraged by the fact that what we create is so well received by our clients.

Describe the type of woman who would wear Charles & Ron? In the past year we had the pleasure to dress many international celebrities and this is very gratifying for a designer, however we take pride in designing for all kinds of women. The “Charles & Ron” prototype woman is bold, fond of statement pieces yet with a feminine silhouette and is never afraid to stand out of the crowd.

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How does the Mediterranean identity fit into your collections? Malta has always been of enormous inspiration to our work and throughout the years we have always enjoyed designing collections with a strong Mediterranean imprint. We strongly believe in the importance to incorporate key aspects of culture, architecture and tradition and show them in a different and unexpected ways in our collections. We feel that the idea of incorporating unique statement designs in our collections is what defines us as a brand, conveys our respect and appreciation towards local heritage and what makes us stand out of the crowd.

Malta has always been of enormous inspiration to our work

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What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work? We are currently working on our next collection which will be Spring/ Summer 2018, but as we are still in the design stage and can’t divulge too much of what we have in store. Nevertheless, we can fairly state that we are fascinated and honoured by the fact that our Malta inspired clothes are being worn by leading Hollywood singers and actresses. Their style choices are obviously interesting for our brand and are also an inspiration for our next collection. All will be revealed very shortly during NY Fashion week in September.

Is there enough appreciation by the market towards local fashion designers? We have always worked hard to encourage people to believe in local talent and to support the Maltese creative sector. There is still a long way to go and it is important that we persist in our mission and keep on educating the market by showing them that it is cool to buy from a local designer. We constantly send the message to the local market that by appreciating local work, you are supporting your own economy and you will purchase something that is most likely far more original than any mass produced item.

What are your views about the local fashion industry? The scene has evolved significantly and it is great to see new designers starting their own business. We are happy to know that we have been of inspiration to many local designers to venture in the fashion industry and to believe in the opportunities that lie beyond local shores.

What advice would you give to young designers? If you think you’re working hard, work harder!

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when food meets GENIALITY

Photo: Sean Mallia

Interview with Chef & Entrepreneur Marvin Gauci


hef Marvin Gauci is a magician in the kitchen who is always ready to pull out of his hat something amazing. His work plays on a very fine line which distinguishes what is defined as logical from what may be regarded as extravagant, nonconformist, and unconventional. Irrespective of whether critics like his work or not, they all agree that he is a genius, an exponent of local talent and a champion of excellence. I had the opportunity to meet Marvin at Caviar & Bull where he shared his views, dreams and upcoming projects.

Is aesthetic as important to you as to how it tastes? If so, how do you keep the look from distracting from the food? I believe that both elements play a key role in our overall experience of food. A good presentation is crucial and often leads to a more enjoyable meal. It is scientifically proven that making something look good makes it effectively taste better too. However, our experience of food is also reliant on taste. When the explosion of flavours amalgamates with our taste buds, they create a unique feeling which triggers our mind to determine our experience. What are your favourite cities for food? Where do you go to in each? I do not have any specific preference. The world of food has drastically changed over the past decades. Distance is no longer a limitation and technology has brought new culinary realities closer to our home. Indeed, the traditional culinary map has changed offering fine dining experiences beyond Florence, Paris and London. The culinary world has opened up to new culinary realities in Eastern Europe such as Hungary, Latvia and even Croatia. Moreover, the constant movement of people from one country to another has created a new phenomenon where you can experience an amazing Peruvian meal at the heart of Budapest or in narrow streets of Rome. What or who inspires you to create a new recipe? It is the smile on my clients’ faces which encourages me to seek new recipes to offer something more special. Thomas Keller has once said that “A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” To what extent do you agree? I totally agree! Passion is the hidden ingredient which makes the difference in any recipe. In a recent interview, Chef René Redzepi has urged chefs to ‘go back to find the taste of pure nature’. What are your views on such statement? I strongly believe that at the heart of food excellence lies the use of natural products. Natural products ensure a better taste, stronger flavours and a more genuine end product.

Photo: Sean Mallia

It is the smile on my clients’ faces which encourages me to seek new recipes to offer something more special.

What does spring mean to you from a kitchen point of view? Spring is an amazing season. It is a time when one can source good ingredients at decent prices. Various fruits and vegetables are at their prime offering a unique punch to every recipe they are used in. Is there any particular ingredient or ingredients you would associate with the spring season? I would go for fresh fish, locally sourced vegetables and herbs like mint.

Not compromising on standards helps you reach your goals and achieve excellent results Excellence is a virtue many of us seldom achieve. What advice would you give anyone trying to reach the top of his or her craft? How do you reach the virtue of excellence? Not compromising on standards helps you reach your goals and achieve excellent results. I believe there are six key elements to achieve excellence being; vision, creativity, determination, hard work, support by the people around you and time management. What do you have in mind for 2017 and the future? I am investing a lot of time, money and energy in my new project in Budapest. Budapest is a growing food market, very similar to Malta in a number of aspects. It is a very competitive market which calls for a good product to survive. executive traveller

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Molecular gastronomy has turned into a household concept. Is it reaching a point of extinction or is it just evolving? Any concept in life which fails to evolve will eventually become extinct. Everything in life needs to be taken to the next level and made relevant in the context of its environment. The same applies to molecular gastronomy.

Photo: Sean Mallia

There are many ways how it can be developed to ensure its continuous relevance in the culinary world.

A MASTER IN THE KITCHEN Interview with Chef Bruno Barbieri


hef Bruno Barbieri is considered as one of the major talents Italy has ever produced in the food industry. He is the Italian chef with the highest number of Michelin stars with a total of seven to date. Chef Barbieri is a popular TV star where he is one of the leading judges on the programmes MasterChef Italia and Junior MasterChef Italia. Chef Barbieri shared with us his relationship with food and his views on the industry.

Together you can achieve more.

What are the pros and cons of your profession? The satisfactions the food profession offers me, definitely outnumber the negative aspects of being a chef. I am gratified to the food profession for giving me the possibility to enjoy the two passions of my life namely; cooking and travelling. Indeed the food profession gave me the possibility to travel extensively and come across different people, different cultures, and new approaches towards food. It also exposed me to new tastes and flavours. The travelling experience has helped me develop my love and knowledge about food and inspired me to develop new recipes. Food is also an amazing medium to express your moods, character and artistic flair. On the other hand, if I had to pinpoint one negative aspect of this profession, I would definitely say it is the price you have to pay in terms of personal life and family. Being a chef entails long hours in a fast-paced and stressful environment. Limiting the time you can dedicate to yourself and your loved ones. What story does MasterChef tell? MasterChef recounts Italy’s longstanding relationship with food. it brings together the food traditions in every Italian region stretching from the Valle d’Aosta up to Sicily. It also reflects Italian society which is predominantly multicultural. MasterChef is a joyful, suspenseful, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, celebration in which the efforts of people with a dream to cook are honored and effort, too, gets its due. It is a true programme which does not seek a chef but g a talent and though food tells a story. Master Chef has also changed our way of living TV transforming it into a social event. Some people follow MasterChef with their colleagues or friends.

You have recently expressed your preference toward Southern Italian cuisine. What is so special about it and how does it distinguish itself from the rest? There are three cuisines I consider as superior to the rest namely; Italian for its primary product, French for its technique and rigour, and Lebanese due to its mix of different cultures. In terms of Italian food, I am particularly fond of Southern food. It is a mix of several cuisines including Arab, Sicilian, and Pugliese. It is also characterised by strong scents and flavours such as citrus, and the sea which make it so complex and unique.

Travel as much as you can and expose yourself to new tastes and flavours

A word of advise to all prospective chefs? You need to study and keep abreast with the developments in the food industry. Learning is a never ending process which helps you develop further. Do not shy away from opportunities beyond the island. Travel as much as you can and expose yourself to new tastes and flavours. Attend food fairs and conferences. It is amazing what is happening at such events. Grab any opportunity which may come along to work abroad. It will help you grow and take your work to a different level. Team up together and discover opportunities in new markets. Together you can achieve more.

What are your views about Maltese cuisine? Maltese cuisine is the result of a relationship between the Islanders and the many civilisations who occupied the country over the centuries. Every civilization has effected the taste and flavours of what today forms the island’s cuisine. It is a mixture of flavours with a clear Mediterranean imprint. Maltese cuisine still without techniques which in a way is an advantage as it offers local and foreign chefs to work on it and develop it further.

I am particularly fond of Southern food

How has Italian food evolved? Rather than Italian food I would it is the Italian society that has evolved. Italian food has adapted itself to changing family habits and behaviour. My grandmother prepared her ragu’ in five hours whilst today we prepare the same ragu’ in an hour and a half. Meat is different, cooking tools are different and time we dedicate to cooking has changed. Today, Italian chefstravel more thus experiencing new flavours and experiences which inevitably impact on Italian food. The external world also effects Italian food. The World is moving so fast that what we are saying is already outdated.

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