Working from any corner of the world, with only a working internet connection, and your laptop- this gives freedom to a person like never imagined before.
Exactly three years ago the world has seen something like never before, the COVID-19 pandemic. It not only changed the world forever but also changed the way we do anything, from how we eat, to how we travel, even how we work. Remote work was around before the pandemic, but the lockdown changed the world’s view of it. Since then, remote working has emerged as a new, more convenient trend that has impacted the travel industry as well. When we think of remote work, it is a bit different from traditional work which does not require you to sit at a corner table in your office and do your desk job. Remote work translates to a way of working outside the traditional way that includes various exciting terms like digital nomadism, workstations, and virtual tourism.
This new trend has impacted changes in travel patterns that lead to more working options for longer travels, longer stays, and finding off-beat locations. Therefore, this change in travel patterns has created many new forms of tourism. Let’s have a look at it-
- i) Workations – The process of utilizing workstations involves traveling to a new destination and working remotely from there. This means you get to travel to a place of your liking, working from there while also enjoying the local culture and other attractions. With the recent emergence of it, many businesses have started to offer workstation packages that include co-working spaces, activities, and accommodations.
- ii) Digital Nomadism – The rise of remote work has given a surge to the rise of digital nomadism which allows working individuals to travel around the world while also working. As a result of it, the destinations that cater to this kind of lifestyle have seen a massive increase in terms of the travel and tourism industry popularity. To understand how big this culture has become, a recently conducted survey shows that around 49% of digital nomads are full-time employees, whereas 16% of them are freelancers and the other 16% are start-up owners or entrepreneurs.
A quote that sums up workstations, digital nomadism, and the recent culture of remote working is “Why work from one location when you can work from every location?”
What are the benefits of remote working and digital nomadism?
One of the biggest benefits that remote working and digital nomadism offer is the flexibility to work. Remote workers have no fixed office hours or work schedules, so they can plan their work around their travel schedule and plans. They can also take breaks around their work to explore the surroundings along with the option to expand their stays in any particular location if they feel inspired. This flexibility is also the reason that allows remote workers to avoid peak travel seasons which can both be expensive and crowded.
- Cost savings
The flexibility of remote workers also leads to another major benefit, cost savings. By choosing remote work, employees can save money on transportation, food, and accommodation. This makes long travel more affordable as well as accessible to a wide range of travel enthusiasts. Additionally, most of the remote workers chose to stay in Airbnb which is cheaper than hotels and provides a more authentic experience.
- Work-life balance
Another benefit that remote workers enjoy is the improved work-life balance. As mentioned before, there are no fixed office hours or work schedules for remote workers which allows them to have a lot of free time. They can use this free time to pursue their other hobbies, make plans with their families, enjoy quality time, or make other travel plans. This provides a better, improved work-life balance for remote employees.
- Diverse experiences
Remote working allows employees to work from different locations and enjoy longer stays. This opportunity to work from anywhere helps the workers experience different lifestyles and different cultures and environments of the respective places they are working from.
- Combining work and play
Today’s employees are not restricting travel to just vacation days, they are traveling and choosing to work on the way. This lifestyle, as explained before, is called digital nomadism and it is a legit industry that is projected to become a billion-dollar industry in the U.S. market with companies hopping on this trend. “Flexcations” is a new term that is coming up, it means travelers are opting to work from their travel destinations rather than taking more days off. So another major benefit is that remote working lets employees combine work and play.
How did the travel and tourism industry get a boost from remote working?
- One such highlighted area of the travel and tourism industry is that the demand for remote work-friendly accommodations such as co-living spaces and hotels is on the increase. Popular hostel chains around the world are also providing opportunities for the locals to experience staycations. This is leading even the locals to explore their own cities through unique and affordable accommodations.
- Remote working and digital nomadism are allowing people to stay longer at the locations. According to recent surveys, the average leisure trip now lasts more than six days with remote working which has increased their spending on accommodations, food, and local activities.
- The presence of digital nomads is now actively attracting more tourists who are seeking a similar lifestyle. This is resulting in an overall boost in tourism.
- Remote working from staycations often includes work in fields like social media management, content creation, or travel blogging. All these are known for using social media and promoting the destination to a wider audience pool, resulting in tourism growth.
- Taking this opportunity, travel and tourism businesses can hire these digital nomads as freelance or temporary workers. They will bring fresh and diverse ideas and perspectives to the place. For example, any boutique hotel can hire a digital nomad to revamp its social media strategy which can increase online engagement, resulting in more bookings.
- The ability to work remotely and flexibility allows people to participate in local activities and cultural events that give a more authentic and immersive travel experience. This leads to an overall boost in the travel and tourism business of the place.
- The presence of remote workers and digital nomads in the places will lead to more business opportunities. It also leads to the development of new activities and travel experiences, catered to remote workers such as networking events, coworking spaces, etc.
One such great example of this increased business opportunity can be seen in Airbnb. The company is the frontrunner who embraced remote working which is allowing its employees to work from anywhere in the world. The company has also launched a special program called “Live Anywhere on Airbnb,” temporarily allowing its employees to relocate to anywhere and work remotely.
What can be the future of tourism?
- With remote working and digital nomadism on the rise, there will be an increase in alternative forms of accommodation like co-living spaces, digital nomad hubs, and serviced apartments.
- Sustainable tourism can also see an increase in demand as remote workers often prioritize eco-friendly destinations and travel activities.
- Remote workers who will be traveling while working will be looking for travel destinations that are conducive to supporting their lifestyles. These places would require a good internet connection, comfortable workspaces along opportunities for leisure activities.
- There will be a potential for remote work to revive smaller and rural locations that were previously overshadowed by big, fancy tourist destinations.
- The tourism industry will also need to adapt to the remote workers and their needs. This includes digital check-ins, flexible booking schedules along with other technological solutions to enhance this travel and remote working experience.
- Governments would need to develop policies that support these kinds of travel and lifestyles. It includes leverages in visa and immigration regulations that help these digital nomads to stay in another country and work from there.
- Giving concessions in visa and immigration policies will also give governments of different countries reap benefits of the foreign money. When people travel to different locations, especially foreign ones, they end up spending on local products and supporting local tourism. Sometimes, they also make full-out business investments there, which helps the local government earn more foreign dollars and money.
Which countries are now offering remote working visas?
It is essential to recognize the countries that are pioneers in providing remote work visas to travelers. Most of these programs often provide a “residency permit,” in the disguise of “digital nomad visas.” Some of these countries are –
- i) United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) requires proof of a $5,000 monthly income along with active health insurance to give a remote work visa to travelers. These visas are active for 12 months and cost around $287.
- ii) Georgia
This country recently rolled out a remote working visa for its travelers that requires proof of income of a minimum of $2,000 per month along with the evidence of travel insurance. The visa is available for 12 months no fees for application.
Croatia joined the list of countries that are allowing remote work visas recently which require a monthly income above $2,590 or a savings of approximately $31,000. This visa is also valid for 12 months.
What are the potential drawbacks of remote working?
Just like every other thing, remote working also has its sets of drawbacks which include –
- Remote workers may find it hard to truly connect to their work while traveling which can easily cause burnout or stress.
- Digital nomads are always at risk of missing out on the social aspects of working life. Building relationships with your co-workers is essential for teamwork and overall organizational success.
As more and more people are embracing this culture of remote-working digital nomadism, we will continue to see a rise in remote working and its impact on tourism.