South Africa’s captivating coastlines and unique ecosystems attract millions of travellers every year. With tourism bringing in an estimated $10 billion (€ 8.2 billion) to the economy and employing millions throughout the country.

However, South Africa’s tourism industry suffered a major setback in 2020, when COVID-19 reached the country’s shores. Before the pandemic, international visitors in South Africa spent over $30,000 (€27,000) per minute while criss-crossing the nation. A figure that seems insurmountable in today’s South Africa, as tourism companies search for new ways to make up for lost time.

How can South Africa revive its tourism industry?

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Industry leaders at the World Travel Market Africa event in Cape Town, South Africa are convinced that the antidote to the ailing tourism sector is the fast-tracking of digital nomad visas. This ambitious visa regime would allow international remote workers to stay in the country for longer than 90 days and up to a year in total.

“There are a number of destinations that have done this like Dubai, Greece and Maldives. Those destinations have seen an overall growth in tourism numbers,” explains Velma Corcoran, Country Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Airbnb.

“What we have done as Airbnb is work closely with the Italian Ministry of Tourism to support them in lobbying for a digital nomad visa.”

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