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Cape Town positions itself as remote working destination

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Shortly after making the list of “best cities for remote working”, the City of Cape Town, in partnership with Cape Town Tourism, this week unveiled its Digital Nomad initiative.

The project forms part of the city’s 10-point tourism strategy to get the sector back on its feet.

The tourism sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Department of Tourism, the Western Cape province is SA’s most developed tourism region. The tourism industry in the province has grown faster and created more jobs than any other industry, it says.

It’s been noted that tourism accounted for 9% of the country’s gross domestic product before lockdown restrictions were implemented in March 2020, and injected the local economy with R25.7 billion in 2019.

According to the City of Cape Town, its Digital Nomad initiative aims to encourage domestic and international audiences to consider Cape Town as a remote working destination when the time is right and with all COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Alderman James Vos, the city’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, explains that with people working from home during the pandemic, the digital nomads concept has become a much-needed escape and great opportunity to take work on a holiday.

“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,” says Vos. “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.

“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.”

In light of this initiative, Vos points out he will engage his national counterparts to make a business case for the introduction of a remote working visa to benefit the tourism industry.

“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.”

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