The destinations betting on digital nomad futures

type - big idea
Big Idea
sector - travel & hospitality
sector - youth
With countries eager to reinvigorate their tourism economies, many are launching visa programmes to tempt remote workers onto foreign shores

Positive impact in Hawaii

Recognising that global nomads want to feel a sense of purpose during their travels, Hawaii has created its Movers and Shakas scheme. The initiative gives digital nomads the chance to live in O’ahu for a minimum of one month – as long as they donate some time back to the community. In return for volunteering at a local non-profit organisation, travellers receive discounts on accommodation, flights, restaurants and tourist attractions. 'By engaging with local non-profits, individuals gain a unique understanding of Hawaii’s values, while also using their skills to positively impact people,' says John Leong, CEO of local environmental educators Kupu.

Dubai’s Bleisure residencies

Transforming its reputation from a playground for the wealthy to a new destination for digital nomads, Dubai's new scheme, Work Remotely From Dubai, opens doors to the city state for people earning more than £3,600 ($5,000, €4,070) per month. Those accepted will receive a 12-month visa, can open a local bank account, get a local phone number and enrol their children at a Dubai school. Promoted by the Visit Dubai tourism board, this virtual programme is described as a way to mix business with pleasure, tempting applicants with its safety and proximity to the sea. 'Dubai is a connected city with a strong digital infrastructure. It’s also one of the safest places in the world, with a blend of cultures from around the globe,' reads the scheme's website.

Published by:

15 February 2021

Author: Claire Turrell

Image: Josh Hotel, Bangkok


Movers and Shakas, Hawaii

90-day stays in Thailand

Thailand is cautiously opening its doors to digital nomads with a new visa programme. As a country where tourism and young backpackers accounted for 20% of its GDP in 2019 (source: National Economic and Social Development Council) its Special Tourist Visa comes with stricter terms – travellers must pass a 14-day Covid-19 quarantine at a hospital or hotel before being allowed to stay in Thailand for a minimum of 90 days. In this way, the country is able to limit travellers passing through, while those in-situ can enjoy the culture, lifestyle and better boost the economy. While only 1,200 visas will be released each month, those who don’t want to rush back to their home country can extend their visa to 270 days.

Elevated nomadism in the Cayman Islands

Catering for individuals earning over £72,300 ($100,000, €81,700) a year, the Caymans Islands is tempting affluent nomads with the idea of working far from home. With its borders remaining closed to commercial aircraft and cruise ships, its new Global Citizen Concierge Program gives VIP access to its islands, allowing people to choose from one of three islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – for a two-year work-cation. 'Having reduced the threat of Covid-19 to near zero, the Cayman Islands offers the perfect oasis for persons with a remote working lifestyle to experience the Caymankind way of life,' says Moses I Kirkconnell, the islands' deputy premier and minister for tourism.

Bajan tech-cations

The island nation has launched the Barbados Welcome Stamp, which gives remote workers the chance to live and work in the country for 12 months and take advantage of its fast internet speeds. Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, describes the Barbados Welcome Stamp as the perfect antidote to 2020: 'Covid-19 has changed work globally with a larger number working from home. Now we can give you certainty for the next 12 months that you can work from here.' Applicants will require a negative Covid test 72 hours before arrival, and can choose from a range of accommodation options, from budget studios to luxury residences, and can renew their visa after a year if desired.

‘Our world-class infrastructure amid bespoke luxury will make living and working remotely efficient, safe and simple’
Moses I Kirkconnell, deputy premier and minister for tourism, Cayman Islands

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