News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Aug. 3, 2021: Similar to most parts of the world, the Caribbean region has also felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel and tourism industry. At the end of 2020, the Caribbean Tourism Organization concluded that tourist arrivals dropped by 65% compared to 2019 when the region saw a record of 32 million tourists visits.
Governments in the region were generally praised for being prompt in managing the health side of the crisis caused by the pandemic. More precisely, they were quick to restrict entries and introduce testing, which helped keep infections and death rates well below those in nearby areas such as Latin America. However, this period resulted in empty hotels and restaurants, deserted touristic attractions, and shut borders, leading to laid-off workers in the area. According to World Bank data, in 2020, the Caribbean economy contracted by 12.2%.
But, working-from-home solutions used around the world have transformed in working-from-anywhere, which may be a solution to the Caribbean’s problem of lack of foreign expenditure. More precisely, the region saw thousands of remote-working “digital nomads” coming here to work in an area that has often been described as a “paradise.”
The arrival of these digital nomads who want to get on board with this new way of life of working from a laptop somewhere on the beach may be the solution for the Caribbean’s economic problems caused by the devastating drop-off in tourism.
Work-from-home visas offered to encourage digital nomads to come
The Caribbean area saw a major opportunity in the “work-from-anywhere” trend, coming up with strategies to encourage more people from abroad to relocate to the region to work from there.
More precisely, Barbados was the first to launch the Barbados Welcome Stamp project, which encouraged remote workers from around the world to get a one-year visa to relocate and work from there. Quickly, at least six other regions from the Caribbean, including Bermuda, Mauritius, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands, have also launched their own schemes of offering visas to remote working digital nomads.
This is without any doubt a way that governments in the Caribbean are trying to handle the coronavirus-linked drop-off in the number of visiting holidaymakers.
Another example of a strategy to manage this collapse in tourism comes from Dominica, an island nation in the Caribbean Sea, which has recently announced that a new international airport will be built in the area. It is hoped that the new airport will help elevate the region to major Caribbean destinations that are already starting to recover in terms of tourism slowly.
Yet, building an international airport isn’t an easy job, and there are many things to consider from constructing the site, from hangars to terminals, control towers, taxiways, runways, and parking with great lighting such as the one from https://www.lepro.com/led-parking-lot-lights. So, the buildout of the new international airport is set to be finished in 2025. But it is expected that when it will be finished to open up new opportunities for tourism and economic growth for the country.
The teleworking trend is also big among locals
Workers from outside the Caribbean aren’t the only ones on board with the teleworking trend. Locals in the Caribbean have also switched to teleworking during the pandemic and lockdown restrictions to ensure the continuity of businesses and jobs. Twenty-three million people from the Caribbean and Latin America made this transition, according to preliminary estimates from the International Labour Organization.
However, in the region, not all workers were able to shift to teleworking during the pandemic. Here, it was mainly the formally employed, salaried people who also have a high level of education and a stable employment relationship who were able to work from home. In contrast, informal workers, young employees, and those with lower qualifications and low earnings had significantly less access to working-from-home solutions and experienced job losses the most.
Both in the Caribbean region and around the world, the pandemic allowed workers to dial down a bit, leading to a major change in working life. More precisely, with people experiencing teleworking and its benefits of being able to work from another location than your employer’s workplace, there was a transformation in how people want to continue working. And, the Caribbean has a vibe that everybody wants and dreams of having in their lifestyle: working on a laptop while you also relax on an island with spectacular views.
Teleworking isn’t challenge-free
It’s clear that teleworking also comes with certain challenges that workers do not face when working from their employer’s office. Such challenges can be related to anything from the organization and working time to labor relationships and compliance with legislation, lack of necessary technology to complete tasks.
Another major challenge affecting both employees and employers is related to health and safety at work. While employers who ask their workers to continue coming to their workplace can ensure safety for their employees, employers who agree to telework can’t control how safe their workers are while “at work.” For example, in the workplace, employers can impose safety measures, use labels and signs, provide appropriate equipment, and ensure proper lighting with proper light fixtures, such as the ones from lepro.com. In contrast, employers who agree to teleworking have very little control over their teleworker’s safety protocol.
However, despite all these challenges related to teleworking, the Caribbean region has already netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in application fees for the remote-work visa programs.