Will the digital nomad trend stay here for good?

It has been two years now that Covid is among us. It has changed a lot: how we live, travel and work. Disruption in the workplace is huge and the following year will show us how that transformation will evolve, but rests the inevitable fact that, thanks to technology, a lot of people are able to work from different places around the globe. How did Europe see its tourism GDP contribution possible to close this gap with digital nomad concept?

It is now estimated that there are more than 35,000,000 digital nomads in the world. This means that, if the global digital nomad community were a country, it would rank #41 by population size.

One of the earliest known use of the term “digital nomad” is the book by Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners from 1997 which was named Digital Nomad. The book describes the possibility of returning to nomadic lifestyle thanks to technology. It is unknown if the phrase was then invented or it had already existed.

It is believed that the first digital nomads were from US and Western Europe who went working remotely in low-cost Asian countries around 2010. They travelled on tourist visas which means there are no concrete dana on the numbers and benefits for the countries they lived in.

Nowadays, US citizens make up 31% of digital nomads across the globe and are the most represented nationality in the digital nomad community, says the research conducted by Abrotherabroad.com. The States are followed by Portugal (8% of digital nomads), Germany (7% of digital nomads), and Brazil (5%). These four countries make 51% of digital nomads’ nationalities in the world.

Furthermore, the digital nomad community is split nearly evenly between sexes: 49.81% are females and 50.19% are males.

When the pandemic started, a huge number of countries around the world which rely on tourism income were left in such an unpleasant situation. Due to the lack of tourism, contries’ economies got hurt in a heartbeat and they had to rapidly create new, innovative ways to adjust to the «new normal» situation.

Campaigns for digital nomads were made across Europe in order to attract them to relocate in other country to work, to pay taxes and to contribute to the economy.

A few European countries started offering Digital Nomad Visa which makes the whole relocation process much easier for all those coming from non-EU countries. The first country who introduced DN Visa was Estonia in 2020, followed by Croatia, Iceland, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Norway… Each country has its own ground rules to obtain DN visa, but they all include the proof of employment and a minimum amount of monthly income.

For now, the last country which introduced Digital Nomad Visa is Romania. They want to become the number 1 destination for digital nomads in the CEE region thanks to their low cost of living and extrafast Wi-Fi which is available even in the remote rural areas.

Companies which rely on tourism also adapted to the new digital nomad situation. For example, the world-famous website Airbnb shifted its focus from short-stay accommodation to long-term for “workcations” (combination of work and vacations), with the minimum stay of 28 days.

There are now also some online tools such as Nomad List and Teleport which compare potential destinations and help digital nomads with their final decision. The tools measure more than 50 criteria, such as Wi-Fi speed, coworking spaces, healthcare and the overall cost of living.

All in all, the Covid pandemic brought so much negative consequences, but it also opened everyone’s eyes with regards to the “traditional” work model. There is no more need to sit in the office every day for eight or more hours. People got the opportunity to work the way they want from wherever they want. One thing is for sure: digital nomad trend is here to stay.  (photo credit:edreams)