Customer experience in the retail sector plays a vital role – Deputy President

The Malta Chamber Deputy President Chris Vassallo Cesareo said that, “B&M retails has proven to be resilient over the last two decades despite the explosion in ecommerce. This characteristic resilience has manifested itself once again with B&M retail surviving the pandemic despite the damage suffered. What actually happened is that these two worlds – Ecommerce and B&M – have actually settled into a state of coexistence.”

He said this during ‘Industry focus series: Retail and Consumer’ event organized by The Malta Chamber and EY Malta. Deputy President also spoke about the customer experience, “by encouraging, training, nurturing, and incentivising our staff to make the experience for the customer a unique one. This will allow us to remain competitive with the convenience factor of online shopping. “

During the same event EY presented the 6th edition of the EY Malta Future Consumer Index. In this survey 22% of the 18-40 year old respondents who participated in this exercise said that most of their retail purchase are made online. 33% of the respondents said that they will only pay a premium for brands that they trust.

In relation to retail this week EMCS also published a two year study which provides a complete report on brand value and consumer perception of different brands in Malta. The ‘Brands in Malta Survey 2021 – 2022‘ highlighted that GO, Cisk and Farsons are amongst the top local brands. 

Atlas Insurance holds ‘Atlas Day’ for its employees focused on the future of work

Atlas Insurance has once again organized ‘Atlas Day’ for its employees based on the theme “The Future of Work”. The full-day event was held at Xara Lodge in Rabat.

This was the first Atlas Day held since the pandemic. The entire team spent a day out of the office to rest and enjoy themselves, whilst being inspired by local industry leaders, socialising through team-building activities and sharing ideas on the day’s theme. By having such an informal gathering employees could get to know each other better, as well as participate in a townhall during which key topics were covered.

Following a meet and greet over coffee, tea and healthy snacks, Matthew von Brockdorff – Managing Director and CEO of Atlas Insurance – kicked off proceedings with a series of talks covering the changes the firm has gone through over the years.

“I wanted to share my journey within the company with TeamAtlas, including how I adapted to the numerous changes and challenges that the insurance sector has faced as well as the new ways of working, which we know have been rather significant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also wanted to share with TeamAtlas the importance of agility in organisational and personal change and I was pleased with the healthy exchange and sharing of positive stories we had during the sessions,” Mr von Brockdorff said.

Chief Human Resources Officer Jackie Attard Montalto spoke about the job skills required in our changing world, and how to approach change to survive and thrive: “Growing up in and moving into a completely different world, we often find mismatches between expectations and reality, across all generations. It’s a very interesting challenge for companies to create jobs which offer service which goes beyond client expectations, and at the same time creating the same experience for their own employees – a work experience which allows people to grow in a positive, supportive work environment.”

Katrina Grech, COO of Mdina International, was invited as a guest speaker to share with TeamAtlas her views on leadership and the future of work, particularly highlighting the concept of servant leadership. Business coach and Managing Director of Vistage Malta Nathan Farrugia gave a presentation on intrapreneurship, its ties to self-development and openness to change.

In line with Atlas’ strong interest in ESG, a tour of the Xara Gardens was organized, during which TeamAtlas was exposed to the way the Xara Collection is growing its own crops through consultation between the farmers and the chefs within the group, creating a true farm to fork system – by adopting a combination of Regenerative Farming and Aquaponics.

The rest of the day was dedicated to recreation, filled with fun activities which allowed many Atlas team members who hadn’t seen each other for many months to get to know each other and reconnect!

We need to address the glaring limitations of our tourism supply chain – The Malta Chamber

The Malta Chamber of Commerce Enterprise and Industry hosted its first Tourism conference titled Rediscover, to mark the occasion of World Tourism Day.

During this event the regulator, the tourism operators and the government discussed ways on how they can work together to achieve the common good for this industry.

During her opening speech the President of The Malta Chamber Ms Marisa Xuereb said that, “this is the time for the authorities to Rediscover their vision of Tourism and implement the necessary changes for a better Malta. President Xuereb highlighted the need to shift focus away from that potentially tantalising figure of 5 million tourists per year. She stated that, “in August 2019 Malta saw record numbers of tourists – an average of around 100,000 per day. That’s equivalent to around 20% of our official population.” President Xuereb continued by questioning whether Malta can envisage 200,000 tourists roaming around on a typical day in August quite irrespective of all the investment in infrastructure. President Xuereb said that, “we need to address the glaring limitations of our tourism supply chain, particularly in terms of human resources and sourcing of food.”


The conference continued with two other speeches from the Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo and the Opposition Spokesperson for Tourism Robert Arrigo.

Minister Bartolo outlined that “A key factor for the sustainable development of tourism is the need to avoid complacency. This is an industry where one can never stop thinking about tomorrow’s opportunities and challenges. Thankfully, our country incorporates social partners like The Malta Chamber that continuously spark a healthy and widespread tourism debate by encompassing government, direct stakeholders and the wider community.”


PN Spokesperson Mr Arrigo outlined various challenging circumstances that are currently happening in Malta. However, he encouraged all parties within the tourism chain to come together towards one vision for the benefit of the hospitality industry.


The conference continued with two keynote addresses by the Malta Tourism Authority CEO, Mr Carlo Micallef and The Malta Chamber CEO Dr Marthese Portelli.

Mr Micallef compared Malta’s Tourism Performance through statistical comparativeness with other competing destinations and their strategy to achieve success. “Rethinking tourism,” Mr Micallef said, “recognises not only that the world continues to change, but that it is changing fast. Ours today is a world where generations of globalised travellers, accustomed to unrestrained and affordable travel opportunities and to an ever-increasing choice of destinations with competitive offers are facing the pressures and forces of change as our world adapts to new realities.”


Dr Marthese Portelli highlighted the challenges being faced by various stakeholders within the tourism industry. She also outlined 7 key points which require commitment and immediate tangible action from Government, which included:

1. Acknowledging that as a country we need to work towards a quality experience offering and the importance of identifying niches which compliment one another
2. Revisiting the classification regime
3. Addressing the country’s aesthetics in the built environment whilst preserving our natural landscape and promoting our history, arts and culture to encourage authentic and unique experiences
4. Proper and thorough enforcement to weave out abusive operators
5. Stopping direct competition from the regulator.


Chairperson of the Tourism Operators Business Section within The Malta Chamber, Mr Alan Arrigo concluded the conference by stating a need to weed out mediocrity. He continued by stating “that this can be achieved collectively when every part of the ecosystem delivers on its promise of a quality experience and keeps adapting to the many needs of tourists and stakeholders alike in a delicate balancing act.”


The conference included three panel discussions which included speakers both from the private industries as well as MTA and the Ministry for Tourism. The intention was to focuse our energies to improve upon the existing standards. The discussions included:

1. Valletta as a Destination
2. Malta’s Competitiveness in Tourism
3. The Right Balance for Niche Tourism   



The Malta Chamber welcomes news that Ministry for Tourism shall be establishing a Malta Tourism Observatory

The Malta Chamber is pleased to note that a few days following its Tourism Conference titled “Rediscover”, the Ministry of Tourism implemented one of its 125 recommendations proposed in its Tourism Flagship document published in November 2021 titled Rediscove supported by Seed Consultancy.

The Malta Chamber proposed the introduction of a smart and open-source Tourism Observatory which enables the use of big data and advanced business intelligence tools to monitor Malta’s tourism performance, including projections and scenario modelling for planning purposes.

CEO Dr Marthese Portelli stated “The Malta Chamber welcomes the Ministry’s news that it shall be establishing a Malta Tourism Observatory to oversee the implementation of national targets. The priority is ensuring that the recommendations proposed are implemented to ensure that Malta has a better Tourism offering.”

The Malta Chamber presents good governance document to the Speaker

A delegation from The Malta Chamber led by President Marisa Xuereb met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta, Dr Anglu Farrugia, to present the recently published report ‘A Strong Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Governance framework for Members of Parliament’.

During the meeting, The Malta Chamber emphasised the proposals related to the declaration of MP’s assets, with particular reference to how increasing transparency when coupled with declarations of conflict of interest can act as a safeguard for ethical behaviour.

Download the full report here.

Digitalisation – More Profit, More Efficiency, Less Stress

The latest event organised by the Young Chamber Network focused on how digitalisation can optimise businesses in terms of efficiency, profitability and less stress.

Stephanie Farrugia, a business intelligence consultant spoke about what business intelligence means for a company, and how to go from separate systems to a more efficient system collating the #data from silos into one.

James Camilleri, co-founder and CEO of Fyorin, spoke on how businesses can unlock revenues and create efficiency, around payment operations, through the use of modern financial technology.

Jack Mizzi, Chief Marketing Officer at BMIT Technologies plc, highlighted some of the risks associated with the use of cloud services, and how such risks can be mitigated.

Transparency, accountability and ethical behaviour amongst members of parliament are fundamental

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry published its report ‘A Strong Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Governance framework for Members of Parliament’. The paper reviews and presents recommendations on a key issue essential to Malta’s rule of law; transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour, which are the fundamental prerequisites of our democratic system.

In her opening address Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO of The Malta Chamber, said “in publishing this report, compiled by the Governance Thematic Committee, The Malta Chamber is building on years of work in this area, most notably its Manifesto for Good Governance published in 2020.”

In her remarks, President Marisa Xuereb highlighted the fact that this is the first of four reports that The Malta Chamber commissioned, with the other three relating to the size of parliament, the role and conditions of MPs and party financing. President Xuereb emphasised that “it is essential that we recognise that these reforms are necessary if we are to build a framework that prevents corruption and conflicts of interest. The implementation of these recommendations could constitute the first step in renewing citizens’ trust in politics and the politicians they elect.”

Since 1987, different administrations have introduced a series of institutional mechanisms to strengthen parliamentarians’ transparent, accountable, and ethical behaviour. The latest evolution in this process is the Standards in Public Life Act, which resulted in a new parliamentary Committee and the Office of Commissioner for Standards in Public Life. As the report shows and concludes, the changes introduced to strengthen parliamentarians’ transparency, accountability, and ethical governance framework over the past decades have had both negative and positive impacts. The report concludes that this transparency, accountability, and ethical governance framework must be strengthened further as serious lacunae continue to exist.

In his presentation of the report, lead author and Chair of the Governance Thematic Committee, Mr David Spiteri Gingell said, “we have identified six areas where we must strengthen the ethical framework surrounding the role of MPs; the disclosure of assets, second jobs, lobbying, strengthening the Office of the Commissioner, instilling integrity and professionalism, and confidential counselling for MPs.”

Present during this press conference were, the NAO, the Commissioner for Standard, the Ombudsman a number of university academics.


The Malta Chamber and iGEN sign cooperation agreement

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry signed a Cooperation Agreement with iGaming European Network (iGEN) with the aim of promoting the prudent and professional growth of the gaming industry.

“As Malta’s leading business representative body, we are honoured to be partnering with such an organisation. Through this agreement, both parties will cooperate on matters of national economic policy, especially in relation to the gaming industry and related professions,” said Dr Marthese Portelli, The Malta Chamber CEO.

“iGEN is delighted to have signed an MOU with The Malta Chamber. Leveraging The Malta Chamber position and reputation will enhance the effectiveness of our lobbying efforts in order to drive positive change for our member companies, their employees and the iGaming industry as a whole”, said Enrico Bradamante, Founder of iGEN.

The agreement was signed by Ms Marisa Xuereb and Dr Marthese Portelli as President and CEO of The Malta Chamber respectively, and Mr Enrico Bradamante, Founder of iGEN.

iGEN is an association of leading iGaming companies based in Malta and operating on the European and international markets. Their mission is to give the industry a common voice and to drive positive change in the environments we operate in.

The Malta Chamber CEO outlines health sector hurdles and the way forward during 3rd industry focus session

The Malta Chamber earlier this week, held its 3rd Industry Focus Session in collaboration with EY Malta. During this conference the local health sector was discussed, with particular focus on the challenges of skills and recruitment in the industry, and how logistic hurdles affect it.

During her speech, Dr Marthese Portelli, The Malta Chamber CEO, emphasised how critical the situation is in terms of human resources and nursing staff. 50% of third-country nationals working as nurses in Malta’s private hospitals leave or change jobs in the first 6 months of arriving. Moreover, around 72% of nurses working within the private sector are foreign, non-EU citizens. Dr Portelli also noted that 63% of care workers, who help vulnerable people live as comfortably as possible, are third-country nationals, of which 9% leave in the first 6 months.

The Malta Chamber CEO identified several hurdles:

• Bureaucracy and delays in obtaining the Single Permit
• Bottlenecks at The Nursing and Midwifery Council regarding TCN certification
• Poaching by the Public Sector
• Family Reunification requirements in Malta is too high in relation to other countries

With this in mind, Dr Portelli outlined several proposals by The Malta Chamber in respect to 3 main areas: Administrative, Procurement, and Attractiveness and Competition.

• Increasing resources to address staffing issues at The Nursing and Midwifery Council in order to expedite applications and to enable processing within set time frames
• Addressing the issue of visa delays with relevant service providers to ensure that appointments are granted within a reasonable time frame
• Granting of a 3-month interim work permit under the same criteria as the approval in principle from Identity Malta

• A procurement outlook
• Use past data for proper and advance forecasting of medicines and medical equipment that is in high demand year on year
• Shorter term contracts to mitigate supply chain issues which are beyond the control of the provider
• Inbuilt clauses which allow for price fluctuations based on the current market reality

Administrative and Competition:
• Widening the scope of the Key Employment Initiative scheme to attract individuals in possession of certain critical skills and qualifications that are running short in the labour market
• Carry out a structured informative campaign which encourages Maltese students to pursue a career in social care and healthcare

A keynote speech was also delivered by John Marsh, Partner in EY People Advisory Services who is also a Non-Executive Director for NHS Surrey Heartland Integrated Care System with the aims of improving population health and integrating health and social care services.

The conference also included 2 panel discussions which discussed:
• Human resources and workforce hurdles within the health care sector
• Logistical and supply chain challenges in the medical field