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Is the party for digital nomads in Bali over?

SAt any time in Bali, you’ll hear the scooter engine, the roaring roar of chickens, the barking, and the constant stream of sizzling street carts cooking local treats. Gorengan And Terang BulanA myriad of languages ​​from excited tourists traveling to the nearest beach with the local community performing daily rituals. It is this intense mix that attracts more than 16 million tourists each year on the island’s coast.

Before the pandemic, the Indonesian island had a reputation for welcoming thousands of remote workers to hotspots such as Canggu, Ubud, and Uluwatu to decorate coworking spaces and niche cafes with laptops and wireless headphones. was. According to the nomadic list of telecommuting tools, at least 5,000 digital nomads were working from Canggu, Bali’s vibrant district, before Covid attacked.

It was also before the current travel ban and the recent deportation of two travel influencers, which could mark the end of Bali’s digital nomadic era.

Experts estimate that there are millions of people who now consider themselves “digital nomads.” According to consulting firm Emergent Research, 10.9 million Americans worked remotely in 2020. “Digital nomads” used to mean people who worked in remote areas, but have evolved into a fascinating and temporary lifestyle where freedom of travel is paramount.

What you need to know – In August 2017, I moved to Bali to take a yoga teacher training course and landed in the jungle town of Ubud in the center of the island. I stayed in a villa owned by a friendly local man named Decking (meaning “born second” because Balinese children are often named according to the order in which they were born). He taught me basic Indonesian phrases that help me develop relationships with the locals I interact with. Apa Cabal? (How are you?) You can make people smile. I got acquainted with many friendly locals who taught me about their religion, food, traditions and way of life. I was welcomed with my arms outstretched by those who wanted nothing but exchanging cultural experience and kindness.

Local hospitality has given Bali a reputation as an island that welcomes tourists and digital nomads.

(Stephanie Conway)

It is this local hospitality that gives Bali a reputation as a welcoming island for tourists, foreigners and digital nomads, but that welcome can be mistaken for ultimate freedom.

In December, Russian influencer Sergei Kosenko filmed a motorcycle driving from a pier to the sea for 5 million Instagram followers. He was later deported for hosting an illegal mass rally of people. Or there is Kristen Gray. Last month, an American influential and digital nomad was kicked out of Bali after tweeting that the island was “queer-friendly” and encouraging others to move there. During a pandemic. Jamaruli Manihuruk of Indonesia’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights said her tweet “disseminated annoying information to the public” that was the basis for her deportation. Both of these cases raised complex issues regarding the situation of these remote workers in Bali.

(Stephanie Conway)

“Bali is a great place. I’m very lucky to call it a home for a short while,” says Luke Temple, a digital nomad who runs marketing firm Victus Digital. “Some people obviously don’t understand this, and it can certainly backfire. These isolated incidents expose the entire scenario to bad light and others. It could ruin it for. ”

Prior to the outbreak, Bali officials were informally blinded to the long-term tax-free nature of digital nomads. While many countries, including Barbados and Thailand, have introduced long-term digital nomadic visas to bring back visitors, Indonesia’s current visa policy provides tax haven loopholes for remote workers.

Indonesia is aiming for a long-term visa of up to 5 years for international visitors and digital nomads

(Stephanie Conway)

Digital nomads usually arrive on tourist visas and “extend” their stay with short-term visas issued to neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. However, while this loophole may be economically beneficial to digital nomads, there is room for scrutiny from community taxpayers. “People who are serious about staying in Bali need to get a business visa and invest in the community,” says Michael Craig, who owns Dojo Coworking in Bali.

This can change quickly. Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Justice and Minister of Human Rights Yasonna Laoly announced this month that they are aiming for long-term visas for up to five years for international visitors and digital nomads. This requires a deposit of IDR 2 billion. (Approximately £ 103,000) £ 2.5 billion per individual or family. The government hopes that the new visa will not only make tourists stay longer, but also have the side effect of improving the “quality” of tourists.

Bali was one of the most affected states in the country as the pandemic drastically reduced tourists.

(Stephanie Conway)

After all, Bali has long relied heavily on tourism. According to Bank Indonesia statistics, Bali’s economy shrank 1.14% in the first three months of 2020 as last year’s pandemic began to deplete international travel, making it one of the most affected states in the country. It became one.

These digital nomads don’t have to worry too much. Other destinations took immediate action to attract a surge of remote workers fleeing elsewhere due to the pandemic. Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism Gustavo Segura has announced plans to encourage remote workers to stay longer. Madeira Island, Portugal, is developing a “digital nomadic village” complete with coworking spaces, rental accommodation and remote work events. Several Caribbean islands, including Barbados and Antigua, have announced similar plans. A warm welcome to these remote workers could be the key to boosting the international economy when the blockade is eased.

With regard to Bali, rigorous lessons have been learned about recent deportations, and it is hoped that this new visa will ensure some respect for the community that welcomes visitors to the island.

Is the party for digital nomads in Bali over?

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