The City of Cape Town leads the charge for remote work visa.
Cape Town, South Africa (7 June 2021) – The City of Cape Town brought together stakeholders from key tourism and hospitality organisations who shared insights on how and why to appeal to digital nomads.
The concept of these professionals on the move has been around for years but became more of a norm when the coronavirus pandemic forced the vast majority of office-bound workers to move their workspace to their homes.
Now, around 74% of professionals say they believe it will become the new normal, while 97% of employees and entrepreneurs say they want flexibility in terms of where they do their jobs, according to a Growmotely survey.
“We are constantly looking at changes in the industry and what it will look like in the future. This means that it will be an increasingly competitive space in terms of attracting visitors,” the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos, said in a statement.
“The rise of the digital nomad means that tourism players in both government and the private sector have to shift their approach so as to be more marketable to those who are blending aspects of work and vacations into a “Workcation”.
“By encouraging more digital nomads to choose South Africa and Cape Town, we will be boosting the economy as they will spend more time and money here. They will also amplify the message among their friends, family and networks about our city being a prime destination for work and play.
“The Cape Town tourism industry is well prepared to innovate! Not long into the pandemic, we saw local guesthouse owners, caterers and others transform their services,” Vos said.
In the same statement, Lisa-Ann Hosking, Tourism Services Manager at Cape Town Tourism, said they had learnt of interesting collaborations and partnerships in response to the trend. She cited the eastern European country of Estonia – currently ranked as the top spot globally for remote working – as an example of how to appeal to digital nomads.
“They implemented a 12-month remote work visa. They’ve got free internet, and their digital economy has actually boomed. Their cost of living is very affordable. Cape Town can certainly up its ranking (from 42 on the list of 50 Best Places for Remote Working in 2021)” Hosking said.
While CTT still has lessons to learn about the remote working trend, Hosking said that they are experts in connecting people to each other.
The nomadic worker model has become so popular that the City is leading the call for a remote worker visa.
“Digital nomads typically stay longer than 90 days in a destination. As such, I will be making submissions to national government to make provisions in the Immigration Act to allow for a Remote Working Visa for a period longer than three months,” said Vos.
“The City’s Enterprise and Investment Department and I developed the 10-Point Tourism Strategy to diversify and evolve our approach in attracting more visitors. And we can see that it’s working as domestic flights to Cape Town International Airport have been booming, while local establishments such as guesthouses, restaurants and other providers have seen a resultant uptick in business.
“Being a prime destination for ‘Workcations’ has been our best-kept secret for many years and a useful ace to pull out at this particular time. These are exciting times. Let’s see how we can unlock opportunities for all,” Vos concluded.
Cape Town was recently voted as one of the Best Places For Remote Working in 2021.