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Sri Lanka to give 1-year visas for ‘digital nomads’

  • Influential French travel and tourism operator Club Med rank Sri Lanka as world’s second-best for digital nomads in 2021

The Government has decided to attract ‘digital nomads,’ a fast-growing segment within the global travel and tourism industry, with long term one-year visas. A decision to this effect was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting on Monday. The Government said the move would help position Sri Lanka as a favourable destination for digital nomads. People who use digital technology for their livelihood and travel around the world are called digital tourists or nomads and facilitating such tourists has been a growing trend in the tourism industry. The Government said digital nomads often stay in restaurants, public libraries and other such venues, and provide their services online through devices with Internet access. The availability of high-speed internet connections for communication, long term visas, affordable accommodation, tax exemption for earnings etc., are the main factors in attracting them. “By attracting digital tourists to Sri Lanka and providing them with the facilities they need to stay longer, the country will be able to earn more foreign exchange,” the Government said. The proposal by Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga proposes launching a promotion program by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau aimed at attracting digital nomads to the country, as well as the introduction of a long-term visa category for them. The Daily FT last month exclusively reported that Sri Lanka was ranked as the second-best destination for digital nomads in 2021 by the influential French travel and tourism operator Club Med. (see Club Med said that as more individuals work from home and say goodbye to cramped commutes and limp office plants, the idea of switching home offices for sunshine, lush landscapes and an explosion of culture was becoming increasingly popular. This desire to roam whilst working remotely has led to a rise in digital nomads – people who travel the world whilst working virtually. Hence Club Med created an index of the best places and countries around the world to become a digital nomad. This data was collected and assessed in line with the growing demand for a nomadic lifestyle. It consciously put beautiful landscapes before bustling cities to limit and restrict stress, allowing workers to fully embrace the world – the ethos behind digital nomadism. In the latest study, Club Med looked at cost of living, safety, average internet speed, presence of nature and wellness spots, as well as the number of both relaxing and adventurous activities in each country. In doing so, it allocated each place a total ‘digital nomad score,’ which it used to rank both the best countries and the best areas for remote working. In describing Sri Lanka, which ranks second, Club Med said: “The colourful country of Sri Lanka is a paradise for nomads. “Sri Lanka came high up on our list as the second-best country for digital nomads to visit. With low living costs and a beautiful working backdrop of lush green mountains, coral reefs and powdery sand, it’s clear to see why Sri Lanka offers such a great remote working experience.” According to Club Med, the country had a total score of 238 out of 320, boasting average temperatures of 30°C along with ample activities and landmarks for visitors to enjoy.

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