What is a digital nomad visa and how it will work in SA

Posted by Imogen Searra on 25 February 2021

The City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism (CTT) launched the Digital Nomad Initiative this week. This aims to get domestic travellers, and eventually international visitors, to choose Cape Town as a remote working destination.

The pandemic has forced the global workforce to shift its operations. Working from home is the new normal and soon people will be able to globe-trot again and take their jobs with them.

Remote or digital working visas have long been a way for nomads to explore the world and work at the same time.

‘We are seeing innovation within the tourism sector to accommodate the changed behaviour of remote working by offering affordable long-term stays, including other benefits required to work remotely and we will expand this message through the broad range of products and businesses who can use a leg up in this challenging time. An abundance of natural beauty and wide-open spaces makes Cape Town an ideal location to live and work with solid fibre infrastructure and top-class hospitality services and products,’ said Alderman James Vos, The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.

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There is no shortage of activities in the Western Cape. From hiking, kayaking, wine farm hopping, beaches, museums, art galleries and more, there is so much to explore.

The City has engaged with national government to consider introducing a Remote Working Visa as a means to boost the tourism industry. This visa will also play a fundamental role in creating employment and commercial opportunities.

Cape Town was voted one of the best destinations in the world for remote working in 2021 by Big 7 Travel. The City and Cape Town Tourism have been tracking the rapidly growing digital nomad trend and is gearing up to welcome these travellers to the Mother City.

The first part of the plan is to encourage domestic travellers to stay and work remotely. The campaign is international and will be executed as such when timing allows it.

In August 2020, Cape Town received the Safe Travel Stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council. It was one of South Africa’s first major metros to receive this.

‘End your work from home boredom and Zoom fatigue. Consider a ‘workation’ in Cape Town.  Whether you want a new remote office for a day, a month or three, Cape Town should be able to accommodate this growing demand with an innovative approach,’ said Alderman Vos.

‘Digital nomads are a new kind of tourist that will benefit our visitor economy. To expand on this opportunity, South Africa urgently needs a Remote Working Visa. We have everything it takes to be the best remote working location in the world only if we make it easier for people to travel to South Africa. Many leading tourism destinations in the world have a type of Remote Working Visa already, and we should have one too.

‘I will therefore engage my national counterpart to make a business case for the introduction of a Remote Working Visa to benefit the tourism industry as it increases commercial activity, and demand and growth for many more industries that lead to jobs and skills. It’s a perfect way to build back better,’ said Alderman Vos.

South Africa listed as one of world’s best holiday destinations 2021

Picture: Getaway Gallery

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