Gibraltar is a UK Overseas Territory located at one of the most southerly tips of Western Europe. It is set within the central European time zone and is only two and a half hours flying time from London with flights also to other major cities in the UK. Although small geographically, Gibraltar has one of the most diversified and thriving small economies in Europe, built largely on shipping and port services, strong financial, gaming and property sectors and a growing tourism sector.
Gibraltar has its own legal system, a common law system modeled on that of the UK with English as its official language. This robust legal system, alongside its thorough and dynamic regulatory system and a favourable tax system, makes Gibraltar an attractive jurisdiction for businesses. The laws of Gibraltar are based on English laws but with their own variations to take into account local requirements. Gibraltar’s legal system is overseen by an independent judiciary and has a fused legal profession, where barristers and solicitors enjoy the same rights and privileges in terms of appearances in court and direct contact with clients.
Gibraltar is largely self-governing with its own democratically elected Parliament and its own constitution enacted in 2006. Through this Gibraltar Constitution, Gibraltar’s defence and foreign affairs fall under the responsibility of the UK government, and it is the UK government that appoints Gibraltar’s Governor, who is the representative of the Crown in Gibraltar. However, the Constitution also allows Gibraltar autonomy in all other areas of governance and thus it is able to maintain an independent tax status and enact its own laws.
Financial services form an important sector in Gibraltar’s economic activities. With its strong legal framework and robust regulatory services, Gibraltar is rapidly moving to the forefront of international financial services, driving innovation and encouraging efficient entrepreneurial activities in the fields of fintech and cryptocurrencies. Gibraltar’s Financial Services Commission is the statutory body that regulates the financial services sector. It works to the very highest standards and ensures that the sector works in line with international best practice including the provisions of all relevant EU directives.
Gibraltar’s location and easy accessibility by land, sea and air, as well as its excellent cruise terminal that attracts several cruise ships a day throughout the peak summer season, means that it benefits from a vibrant and growing tourism sector. Well-supported by Gibraltar’s government, the sector is seeing an expansion in numbers of hotels, restaurants, bars and café’s. With the hosting of numerous events such as an international literary festival, several music festivals, international drama and dance festivals, Gibraltar’s hospitality sector is busy throughout the year and welcomes some 10 million visitors per year.
Gibraltar’s maritime services have long been one of the pillars of the territory’s economy. Located strategically overlooking the busy shipping lanes of the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet, yet lying in the sheltered waters of the Bay of Gibraltar, it is perfectly placed to provide international shipping companies with bunkering services, shipping agency services and a broad range of maritime services. The Port of Gibraltar recently achieved status as a Maritime “Centre of Excellence” and ensures that Gibraltar’s maritime traditions continue to go from strength to strength.
Also an important sector contributing to Gibraltar’s economic growth and prosperity, the gaming industry continues to thrive, eager to locate in Gibraltar, develop and innovate. Gibraltar enjoys an international reputation as a centre of excellence in e-gaming. Its excellent infrastructure, international links and robust tax and regulatory systems provide the perfect environment for e-gaming companies to thrive and continue to develop.