Between sunseekers, investors, and media pundits, it's not hard to find comparisons between Croatia and Malta.
The two tiny, sun-drenched Mediterranean countries may have a lot of differences but they also have a lot in common. Both countries have similar architecture, economies, and cultures, while both are rapidly becoming some of the most popular tourist destinations on Earth.
It is more than likely that these two friendly EU nations will find themselves in competition with each other in the future when it comes to tourism and investment. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at how the two countries compare.
Let's first take a quick look at how Croatia compares with Malta in a more global context. When it comes to most of the numbers, Croatia has Malta beaten. The country has a population almost ten times higher than Malta, with 4.1 million people to Malta's 493,000.
This helps explain why the GDP of Croatia is also significantly higher, at $60 billion vs $14.7 billion. Croatia is also almost 200 times larger than Malta in terms of geographic size. However, despite Croatia's larger size, it's worth noting that Malta has significantly higher wages and GDP per capita, as well as scoring higher on indices that look at national influence.
There is no skirting around the fact that tourism makes up a disproportionately large chunk of the economies, cultures, and societies of both Croatia and Malta. Dubrovnik is, by some measures, one of the most 'over-touristed' cities in the world, with over a million people descending upon this city of only 42,000 people last year.
Malta suffers from similar problems of over-tourism, with 1.1 million people, equivalent to more than twice the population of the tiny island, paying a leisure visit in 2019. That being said, both countries rely on tourism, given that it is the largest sector of both their economies.
Beyond the strong reliance on tourism, the economies of Malta and Croatia have several striking differences. Most notably, Croatia is a significant manufacturer and exporter, selling billions of dollars worth of crude oil, agricultural products, and products from its massive shipbuilding industry overseas. Malta meanwhile is a much more service-oriented economy.
One of its major economic engines is the online casino industry, with dozens of multi-billion-dollar global casino companies establishing headquarters in Malta in recent years. Major casino platforms such as NetBet, which offer hundreds of online slots from classic fruit machines to TV-inspired games like Narcos and jackpot slots like Mega Fortune, are now a ubiquitous feature of the Maltese economy.
Despite their highly unique and immensely differing histories, Malta and Croatia do share some surprising cultural similarities. For one, both have a business culture that separates them from the other Southern European countries, in that both highly value punctuality and straightforwardness in all business dealings.
In addition, both have strikingly similar cuisines, with lobster, rabbit stews, goulashes, and bean soups all featuring prominently in their respective lists of national dishes. In addition, the inhabitants of both countries have strong reputations for friendliness and honesty in international rankings.
What other notable similarities and differences do you think there are between Malta and Croatia? Drop us a comment to let us know!