ATHENS – Greece’s bid to lure more so-called digital nomads – those with technical skills who can work anywhere in the world – is being heard by the US credit card company VISA that’s exploring ways to send up to 3 percent of its staff.
The New Democracy government is cooperating with the California-based company and its teleworking program through the Tourism Ministry’s digital nomad scheme that faces the obstacle of Greece’s slow Internet services.
Kathimerini said that talks were held about an agreement and that ministry officials were excited at the prospect of a multinational company picking the country as a remot working destination.
That could see 21,500 digital nomads working in Greece, which has offered enticements for those in technical fields to come, also citing the country’s weather and attractions and quality of life.
The ministry has made such contacts with other multinationals too, the report said, with the Digital Nomads initiative has already started on a pilot basis in the cities of Ermoupoli, Iraklio and Kalamata and not just Athens and big cities.
Marketing Greece has also taken similar initiatives, while in the last five years (2017-21) Athens has recorded the third fastest growth rate in the world among digital nomad destinations, according to data by Nomad List, the report said.
That comes as the ministry has secured the submission of detailed data from VISA on the use of foreign cards in Greece and that the company initially provided two detailed charts with 12-month data on the expenditure of tourists in Greece.
Those compared the record years of 2018 and 2019 with the COVID-19 pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 when tourism fell hard and international travel was largely limited for long periods, holding down visitor arrivals.
The company will also promote Greece as a destination to international cardholders, and in cooperation with the ministry will develop an online travel platform for that, it was also said.
Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said working with VISA is a win because “ass tourism constitutes an important part of the country’s gross domestic product and a leading sector regarding investment, it is important to form a policy based on actual data. In that sense our cooperation with VISA will considerably enhance our capacity in drafting our strategy for designing tourism products.”