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South Africa Opens its Doors to Remote Workers, and They Come Bearing Economic Gifts

The South African government is finally about to give international workers who are not office bound the chance to roam the Rainbow Nation. Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs, gazetted a new set of immigration regulations that would allow remote workers who earn more than R1 million per year to work in South Africa for up to three years.

“This is fantastic news, especially as our industry begins to return to our pre-pandemic numbers. There are roughly 35 million remote workers worldwide with an estimated economic value of more than R1.5 trillion per year. This new law will allow us to compete for that slice of the pie. The potential economic benefits are huge,” explains Marc Wachsberger, CEO of The Capital Hotels, Apartments and Resorts.

Like honey to a bee

The long-awaited remote work visa is a blessing for a hospitality industry that is kicking back into gear after a few difficult years. This is because South Africa is an attractive proposition to international workers. South Africa’s weak Rand is incredibly alluring to many remote workers, especially those coming from Europe, North America and China. To take advantage of this, multiple stakeholders in the industry have geared their operations to cater to them.

The Capital Hotels, Apartments and Resorts for example, offers regular international travellers the chance to lease long-term serviced apartments for six-month spells. The beauty of serviced apartments is that they come fully furnished, equipped with a kitchen, living and dining area, bedroom, bathroom, and work desk.  A majority of the hotels also offer workspaces in the public areas including boardrooms and meeting spaces. Much like a hotel guest, a serviced apartment guest has access to all the amenities that the hotel has to offer, such as the gym, spa and pool, making this a cost-effective solution for the long stay traveller.

For those who are constantly on the move, for work or other purposes, long-term serviced apartments at The Capital give you the flexibility of having a home away from home, promising safety and security, backup power and water, connectivity (public workspaces, meeting rooms and rooms all have high speed Wi-Fi connectivity), self-catering or hotel restaurants, cleaning services and more. The Capital’s properties are also located in centralised areas, giving travellers easy access to tourist attractions, entertainment, restaurants etc.

“For internationals, long stay leases are great because they give them the chance to experience the country like a local. That benefits us all because they get more of a chance to participate in our local economy,” says Wachsberger.

The Capital Hotels, Apartments and Resorts, for example, offers regular international travellers and South Africans the chance to easily invest in the ownership of a room or apart-hotel. Through a 50% deposit for foreign investors and a 10% deposit for locals, one can invest in a studio, superior studio, executive room, two-bedroom apartment, or even a three-bedroom penthouse. The investor can then lease the property back to The Capital Hotels, Apartments and Resorts and collect guaranteed passive income whenever they are not in town. The potential return on investment, given its price in some major currencies is enormous.

In another move to attract remote workers, the City of Cape Town has partnered with Airbnb to highlight the Mother City’s value as a destination for international remote workers. The partnership agreement includes a dedicated Airbnb hub for Cape Town that showcases top local long-term listings, attractions, and experiences.

In a statement released by the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos welcomed the visa, saying, “By enabling remote workers to stay longer in our city, we can substantially boost our tourism value proposition, as these visitors will spend more money, benefiting various local businesses and services.”

How tourism can power economic growth

According to Statistics South Africa, the current unemployment rate is 32.9%. Tourism has the ability to put a major dent in that number. Recently, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Economic Impact Report showed that South Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry could create as many as 800,000 jobs in the next decade. By helping to accelerate the industry’s growth, the remote work visa could further increase that number and subsequently help thousands of South Africans put food on the table.

Wachsberger concludes, “Implementation is always a concern, but we are pleased that government has taken this step. Now it is up to us service providers to show the world why South Africans are so fiercely in love with their country.”

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