As soon as one among Europe’s greatest vacationer locations, Croatia depends on digital nomads to contribute to the nation’s economic system and reboost its pandemic-hit journey business.
Croatia began providing particular visas to digital staff from outdoors the European Union in January 2021, permitting them to remain for as much as a yr and exempting them from earnings tax.
American advertising marketing consultant Melissa Paul turned Croatia’s first official digital nomad earlier this yr, and tells AFP why she selected this nation.
Is it straightforward to maneuver to Croatia?
“Croatia is attractive, it’s stunning residing right here, inexpensive in comparison with different locations, has a terrific local weather, good web entry,” says Melissa Paul.
Melissa is one among round 100 folks to have utilized in January, greater than half of which have been American and British.
All she wanted to do to get pleasure from her new life in Labin, a hilltop city overlooking the Adriatic, was to show she works remotely, has lodging and medical insurance and earns not less than €2,200 (RM11,092) a month.
Up to now, the Croatian authorities has accredited 33 visas and ministers hope the concept will take off much more as soon as virus-related journey restrictions are lifted.
Croatia is on the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe and enjoys a reasonably heat and continental local weather.
Tourism makes up round one-fifth of the economic system on this EU nation of 4.2 million folks. The variety of guests plummeted from 21 million in 2019 to seven million final yr. Revenue additionally greater than halved to €4.8 billion in 2020 in contrast with the earlier yr.
However Croatia-based Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong doesn’t suppose the nation’s vacationer status will vanish due to the pandemic.
He used social media final yr to name on Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to introduce the visas – and 6 months later they turned actuality.
“Croatia general, particularly within the mixture of issues, affords a really distinctive expertise,” De Jong says, highlighting the surroundings, connections with the remainder of Europe and Mediterranean way of life.
However to achieve success with digital nomads, De Jong provides, Croatia wanted to behave ”rapidly and be aggressive.”
Certainly, Estonia launched its nomad visa programme final yr and nations together with the Czech Republic and Iceland are following an identical scheme.
The tourism ministry, which is backing De Jong’s thought, sees it as a long-term alternative to spice up the business reasonably than a fast repair to the pandemic-related disaster.
The ministry advised AFP the digital staff might grow to be Croatia’s greatest promoters, spreading the phrase to their friends.
For Melissa Paul, the visa was her final possibility. She had been residing in Croatia since 2014 and was married to a Croatian, however divorce left her with no authorized option to stay.
“It allowed me to remain the place I really like residing,” she says.
One other tempo of life
Initially from america, content material creator Steve Tsentserensky arrived within the nation after years of globetrotting.
He has hung out in New Zealand, Ukraine, France and Italy in addition to engaged on cruise liners.
However he fell in love with the Croatian “tempo of life”.
“It’s not like everyone seems to be speeding round,” he tells AFP. “You’re employed and you’ll get pleasure from your life as nicely.”
Melissa Paul additionally stresses that foreigners will convey experience and information that might assist the broader group.
This concept is what motivates entrepreneur De Jong, who hopes the affect of international digital staff may assist younger Croatians, a lot of whom wish to go away their very own nation.
“They might be bringing their mindset and expertise and might actually have a optimistic influence on the mindset, largely of the younger era,” says the Dutch father of 4.