As remote working becomes the new normal, Barbados is hoping to turn its beaches, adjacent to crystal-blue waters, into your new outdoor office.
The Caribbean country is set to introduce a “12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp,” which would allow visitors from overseas to stay for an entire year and work remotely, according to a speech made by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley last week.
“You can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back,” she said.
Mottley acknowledged the difficulty of short-term travel, with coronavirus restrictions and mandated quarantines, but a yearlong stay could help jump-start the island’s economy, Insider reported.
Tourism makes up a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) — 40%, to be exact — with more than 2.4 million travelers going to and from Barbados each year, typically spending $1.1 billion on the island. But due to COVID-19 restrictions and fewer people traveling, tourism has come to a screeching halt in Barbados and other Caribbean countries. Beaches, resorts, restaurants and local businesses are virtually empty, but the 12-month stay proposal comes at the perfect time, as flights in and out of the country are set to resume July 12.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, still warns against nonessential travel to any country, as it increases the risk of virus transmission. But if travelers are looking to take Barbados up on its offer of a 12-month staycation, the government recommends they be tested for COVID-19 72 hours prior to their departure.
While fears of traveling are still present as the virus continues to ravage many countries, Barbados’ statistics stayed relatively low overall, with only 98 cases and seven deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The country’s 12-month welcome plan has yet to launch, and an official date remains unclear, but Barbados is not the only place offering visitors travel incentives and perks.
Cyprus promised to cover the cost of any travelers who test positive for the virus while in the country, including a place to stay, food, medication and anything the person or their family might need, the Associated Press reported.
Italy and Greece are also offering discounted airfare to visitors in the hopes of attracting more tourists to the area, and some destinations in Mexico are offering free hotel rooms and car rentals, as well as discounted attractions, Insider reported. Last year, the Italian town of Cammarata announced it was offering free homes — with the caveat that its new residents pay to fix them up — in order to increase the region’s population.