After the introduction of the digital nomad visa in Croatia, making Croatia only the second country in Europe to adopt such a visa, the country has found itself on the radar of remote workers from all over the world. The visa was officially introduced at the beginning of this year and offers nomads the chance to stay in Croatia for one year.
The number of nomads who have applied for the visa, around 300 this year, highlights the interest. And when you take into account that anyone from the European Union doesn’t need to take out this visa as they are already covered with the freedom of work and movement act, and that third-country nationals who are staying less than three months also don’t need the visa then that number is even more impressive. In fact, this special visa for remote workers only really applies to third-country nationals wishing to stay and work in Croatia longer than one year.
Whilst the introduction of the visa opened a completely new market of guests for the country, more importantly visitors that will stay outside of the main tourist season in many cases, and will stay for a longer period of time, there have been many myths around these digital nomads. One that always rears its head is just how much these nomads actually spend. Why this question keeps popping up is probably a reflection, and indeed a poor reflection, of the way some businesses, institutions and indeed citizens think in Dubrovnik. The advantages of opening to digital nomads are obvious, however they aren’t a replacement for “normal” tourism, instead they are an added benefit.
Jan de Jong talks digital nomads in Dubrovnik - Photo Mark Thomas
But just how much of an added benefit are they? One of the founders of digital nomad tourism in Croatia, Jan de Jong, and indeed the driving force behind the introduction of the digital nomad visa explained the financial benefits of attracting remote workers. At a conference in Dubrovnik entitled “Be The Wheels of Change - Diversification of the Dubrovnik Tourist Product” held in Hotel Adria and organised by the Centre for Entrepreneurship of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Jan de Jong laid out the figures for all to see. There are around 35 million digital nomads on a global scale and there global spending is around $800 billion dollars. On a Croatian level, according to De Jong, the average digital nomad spends around $18,000 a year, or around 120,000 Kuna a year, or around 10,000 Kuna a month. “Although there are cases of nomads spending much, much more,” stated De Jong. And gave an example of a British couple who regularly spend between 50,000 and 60,000 Kuna a month in Croatia.