The Malta Independent 16 October 2019, Wednesday

Malta still a top choice for iGaming nomads?

Thursday, 8 August 2019, 08:30 Last update: about 3 months ago

There was a time when Malta was near the top, if not the very top of every list when it came to the best locations for anyone looking to get a piece of the iGaming industry. But does this tiny island still hold as much weight with travelling online gaming experts as it once did?

A recent article on LiveDealers suggests that the country is losing its appeal due to a number factors and is basically becoming too small for all the companies operating out of it.

The looming arrival of more iGaming companies like Bet365 and William Hill topped with Brexit only seems to make things more complicated.

So, is Malta still a choice destination for digital nomads? Or is the time for the influx of laptop wielding foreigners into Malta coming to its end, with other countries around the world ready to take over?

European Digital Nomad Destinations

For digital nomads based in Europe, the temptation to move far away may be outshone by staying a little closer to the comforts of home, and there are more choices than ever before.

Malta

Malta hasn't stopped being a beautiful country, but it is also a very small one, and the more people arrive, the more the island starts to feel overcrowded.

Overcrowding brings with it issues with housing prices, while the talent pool remains fairly small, meaning wages for the necessary jobs have risen as a result.

The end result is higher prices for both companies and workers, and has led many an eye to wander to other destinations.

Cost of Living - Not what it used to be, drinks and food are not overly cheap, and don't be surprised to pay close to London prices for a one-bed apartment. 3/10

Co-Working - The culture of co-working did not hit Malta until very recently, but now there are plenty of awesome options available. Most notable are Soho with two gorgeous locations in central Malta and CocoHub, which offers co-working plus co-living.

Lifestyle - Nightclubs, bars, and restaurants are everywhere, and there's good water sports options too, but a small island can only offer so much. 6/10

Climate - Few European countries can come close if you love the sunshine. You can spend a large percentage of the year basking in the summer rays. 8/10

Safety - Safety is something that hasn't taken a step down in Malta, crime rates are low, and they look like they're staying low. 8/10

Lisbon, Portugal

If any European destination has taken the role of digital nomad hotspot from Malta, it is undoubtedly Portugal's capital city.

Lisbon has many of the benefits of Malta, including a climate that is nothing short of tropical compared to most of the rest of Europe.

There is a downside, however, house prices in Lisbon have also flown up as a result of the digital nomad boom, and there are rumours that here too, the bubble may soon burst.

Cost of Living - A few years back, the score would have been much higher now, but with a one-bed apartment in the city centre costing around €1,000 a month on average, even the cheap price of beer can't save the city from a low grade. 4/10

Co-Working - You can't turn a corner without finding a co-working space in Lisbon. Whether you're looking for a hippy haven, or a professional office, you'll find it here. Not to mention the abundance of cafes offering good Wi-Fi. 10/10

Lifestyle - The digital nomad community stays close together in Lisbon, with lots of events (mainly, but not exclusively involving heavy drinking!). As a popular tourist destination, there's also a lot to do away from other expats, and a good selection of beaches. The Portuguese government has also made it clear Brits with residency can stay after Brexit. 8/10

Climate - If anything, the summers are too hot. Also be aware, winters can be cold in Lisbon, and the houses are not built to accommodate!

Safety - Crime rates in Lisbon are surprisingly low, focus on rehabilitating drug offenders instead of imprisoning them is said to have made a notable difference on crime in the country. 9/10

Budapest, Hungary

Cost of Living - You can live comfortable here for less than €1,500 a month all included, which is a decent price for Europe. 7/10

Co-Working - Getting better by the day, there's already a good choice of places to work from, with more popping up all the time. 8/10

Lifestyle - The political situation in Hungary isn't great at the moment, those with a more left-wing mentality may not be comfortable. The city is beautiful however, and whether you want clubbing, tourist spots, or a life of peace and quiet, you'll find it here. Healthcare if less than perfect, however. 4/10

Climate - If you like your summers not too warm and your winters not cold, there's a lot to be said for the climate here. 7/10

Safety - Crime rates are a little higher than Lisbon or Malta here, but serious crime is very uncommon. 7/10

Vilnius, Lithuania

Cost of Living - Around €2,000 a month for everything, the price has gone up a little since nomads have realised this beautiful city exists. 7/10

Co-Working - The upside of the nomad influx is the abundance of co-working spots, as well as copious cafes. 8/10

Lifestyle - Vilnius is a small city, so while there are things to do, they are fewer in number than the bigger cities. A lot can be forgiven for the stunning scenery, however. 6/10

Climate - Winters are cold, summers tend to come with a cool breeze. If you're beach minded, this may not be for you. 6/10

Safety - About on a level with Budapest, as long as you're careful you should be fine. 7/10

The Rest of the World

Asia, and more specifically South East Asia, has long been the destination of choice for digital nomads looking to try something completely different.

While Bali in Indonesia and Chiang Mai in Thailand have both lost a lot of their charm due to no longer being well kept secrets, there are still many options left in the region.

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo

Cost of Living - At under €1,000 for everything you need, if you want to live like a king, Kuching may be the place! 10/10

Co-Working - Kuching has responded to the attention from digital nomads with many a co-working space. Be aware, however, that internet connections can be weak.

Lifestyle - The new kid on the block in South-East Asia may be short on nightlife compared to Thailand or Indonesia, but you are likely to have orangutans as neighbours! 6/10

Climate - It's South-East Asia, prepare for a lot of sunshine with sometimes overwhelming heat, and when it rains, it really rains! 7/10

Safety - Kuching is a small city, with a gentle, chilled vibe to it. Keep your hand on your belongings as there's the odd pick-pocket around, but for the most part, it's a safe place.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Cost of Living - You can live frugally for less than €1,000 a month, but even the more extravagant nomad shouldn't go above €1,500. 9/10

Co-Working - Tbilisi is still finding its feet as a digital nomad destination, co-working spaces are limited currently, but that's likely to change in the near future. 5/10

Lifestyle - Proving it's not all about the South-East, this Central Asian capital has stunning views, good people, and excellent food. Not exactly a party town yet, though. 7/10

Climate - Its properly warm here, sleeves are seldom necessary, except maybe for a few weeks in winter.

Safety - Safety is good currently, but who can say what will happen if nomads keep arriving. 7/10

Florianopolis, Brazil

Cost of Living - Not too high over €1,000 a month, Florianopolis is very nomad friendly in terms of price. 8/10

Co-Working - Lots of spaces, but finding those with good internet is less simple. 3/10

Lifestyle - LGBT and Racial tolerance is top class here, but females travelling alone may not have the best experience. Brazil's current president also isn't everyone's cup of tea, to say the least! This is, however, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, and that can make up for a lot! 7/10

Climate - You're in rainforest country now, expect blistering sunshine, with a side order of torrential rain, with the temperature staying high throughout. 7/10

Safety - Brazil is not the safest country, violent crime is high, and while Florianopolis is not a danger zone by Brazilian standards, it is still substantially less safe than many other digital nomad destinations. 3/10

Medellin, Columbia

Cost of Living - You can live pretty comfortable here for €1,000 a month. Rent, eating out, and general living costs are all low. 8/10

Co-Working - Medellin has been the South American Mecca for digital nomads for a while, and that equals a huge number of co-working spaces. Internet is much better here than in most of South America too. 7/10

Lifestyle - Spanish is an easier language than Portuguese, which puts Columbia above Brazil for many, especially as English is not widely spoken. Racial tolerance is not good here, although the locals are friendly to the English on the whole. There's good nightlife, and a lot of outdoor bars, cafes, and restaurants. 5/10

Climate - South American sun, but less extreme than Brazil, the temperatures here are lovely all year round, you'd struggle to find better! 9/10

Safety - If you're aware of the troubled history of Columbia, the chances are you've heard of Medellin. While the city is not as unsafe as it was during the time of Escobar, there's still a lot of work to be done here. 3/10

If the bubble does burst in Malta, or even if it looks like it might, there's a chance that many of the digital nomads currently residing in the country will leave.

As is the nature of the nomad, the lifestyle lends itself to a quick exit, and with a plethora of destinations around the world built for laptop-based workers, and more popping up every day, they're spoilt for choice! 


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