Cape Town, which has positioned itself as the go-to remote work destination, says it is looking to capitalize on the economic spinoffs offered by digital nomads.
This, after President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated during his State of the Nation address last week that a “comprehensive review of the work visa system is currently underway”.
The review, Ramaphosa explained, explores the possibility of new visa categories that could enable economic growth, such as a start-up visa and a remote work visa.
In a statement, Alderman James Vos, a member of the city’s Mayor’s Committee for Economic Growth, welcomed the latest developments, saying the remote work visa has economic benefits for Cape Town.
“We have learned that each of these active tourists tends to spend up to R50,000 during their stay, which can be a significant boon to the economy. These revenues affect several sectors, including educational institutions, transportation, accommodation, retail and restaurants. »
The tourism sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Department of Tourism, the Western Cape is South Africa’s most developed tourist region. The tourism industry in this province has grown faster and created more jobs than any other industry, the ministry said.
It was noted that tourism accounted for 9% of the country’s gross domestic product before lockdown restrictions were implemented in March 2020 and injected R25.7 billion into the local economy in 2019.
Additionally, the city was named one of the world’s “best cities” for remote workers last year.
According to Vos, he made a proposal to the national government, suggesting that it amend Article 11 of the Immigration Law, which concerns an extension of visas beyond 90 days for specific activities. Indeed, remote workers tend to stay more than three months in one location.
Additionally, it plans to begin engagements with industry bodies, such as Cape Town Tourism and the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa, to initiate the process of creating specific product and price categories that cater to this market. specific so that Cape Town remains top of mind for these travellers.
“South Africa has long been a global tourist hotspot,” he says. “By showing that we also have the means to make people work while they are here, we encourage them to stay longer.
“They will then amplify the message among their network of friends and family that this is a top destination for work and leisure. The remote work model isn’t just a trend, it’s here to stay. »