Bali Welcomes Digital Nomads To Work Remotely, Still Closed to Tourists

by Miles Jackson

While Indonesia remains closed to foreigners and tourists, it plans on enacting regulation which allows foreign travelers to work while vacationing or living in the country. This means soon the news will be that Bali welcomes digital nomads. That may be exciting for many people who work remotely or contemplate the possibility.

Indonesia Hopes to Revive Tourism

The Indonesian government is hoping to resuscitate the tourism industry, which has been dramatically crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bali, the top tourist destination for the nation, already reopened to domestic tourists on July 31. There were hopes of possibly opening up to international travelers in September, but now it looks as if that will not happen until early 2021. Indonesian closed its borders to foreign nationals. This remains today, barring very few exemptions. However, long-term visa recipients can get around these restrictions.

Even as domestic tourism is allowed and the government is promoting this program, it is not enough to replace the foreign tourists dollars lost.

Many Nations, Not Just Bali Welcomes Digital Nomads

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Many Nations, Not Just Bali Welcomes Digital Nomads

More than 90 million people work globally as digital nomads or persons who work remotely by use of technology and the internet. As a result, remote worker visas have become quite popular as a means to jump-start slumping economies previously heavily dependent on tourism.

We have recently seen Barbados take the lead in the Caribbean followed by Bermuda. You can check out all the recent long-term digital nomad visa announcements by checking out our Where Can Americans Work Remotely During Coronavirus?

In addition, although not exactly a digital nomad visa, the Maldives Reopens Without Quarantine. That leaves more opportunities open for those wishing to visit (and perhaps work from) that paradise in the Indian Ocean.


Remote Working Has Jumped During Pandemic

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic there was already a huge portion of the population which did at least some work remotely. According to a study from remote workspace provider IWG, 70% of all workers telecommuted at least one day per week. Furthermore the study found that 53% worked from home (or elsewhere) at least half the week.

With the pandemic affecting nearly all segments of the economy, working remotely has risen dramatically. According to a recent report from Stanford, it is estimated that “an incredible 42 percent of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time. About another 33 percent are not working – a testament to the savage impact of the lockdown recession.” As more businesses embrace this remote work relationship, other opportunities arise. As a result, a person may live wherever they desire and still maintain employment. This is exactly the appeal of these digital nomad visa programs.

Small Countries Enticing Digital Nomads

That fact isn’t lost on smaller nations who relied on tourism dollars to contribute to their nations’ economies.  According to the CIA World Fact Book list of 33 developed countries, the total population with digital nomads globally is around 99 million. That’s a lot of potential long-term visitors to these smaller nations.

Long-term workers working remotely as digital nomads will likely contribute to the local economies by purchasing goods and services. They will also have to rent (or buy) accommodations in their new homes.

Bali Welcomes Digital Nomads – Less Visa Extensions

An official digital nomad (or long-term) visa program in Indonesia provides remote workers a legal basis for staying while also working on the island. It also means there will be fewer trips to the immigration offices for visa extensions and explanations of why it needs to be renewed.

More information will be available at this site, once the visa details are finalized.

Canggu, Bali is considered as the second best city in the world to work for digital nomads.  Located in North Kuta, a suburb of Denpasar (home to the DPS airport) it has a cost of living estimated at about US $1300/month. It features an average internet speed of 19 Mbps.

Cheap, Quality Accommodations as Bali Welcomes Digital Nomads

AirbnB Vacation Guesthouse Bali Welcomes Digital Nomads

AirbnB Bali Entire Guesthouse for as low as $299/month!

As far as accommodations go, that’s going to be the most difficult part of the process, I think. Of course there are lots of rentals properties on the island. You can find something that fits any budget. I’ve been there several times but never stayed beyond 30 days. I have used AirbnB for many rentals in Southeast Asia. If you use this link to join, you can get $35 USD on your first booking. My suggestion is to grab a rental for a month then use that as a base from which to find a longer-term accommodation. As you learn the area, you will know what and where you might like to live.

Also, please read PointMe contributor Sarahs’ Six Things To Do Before Traveling Internationally before you head out to anywhere.

Final Thoughts as Bali Welcomes Digital Nomads

We are seeing a paradigm shift in the way many people work and travel. The changes we are experiencing today likely will affect the travel industry for some time. Work in the ‘new normal’ also is changing, and will for the foreseeable future.

It is programs such as long-term visas for digital nomads that embrace these changes in the workplace. It’s like making lemonade out of lemons. For many digital nomads choosing to live, work (and play) in a new found paradise, it is more like making margaritas out of lemons.

Would you like to move to some global destination and work? What do you think of the latest Indonesian program as Bali welcomes digital nomads?

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Nadine August 16, 2020 - 10:42 am

Conversely here in Kenya Digital Tourism isnt seen as a viable marketing tool at all. I struggle to make local businesses understand the power of referals and exposure.

James August 16, 2020 - 5:20 pm

I don’t get it. How is Bali going to open to “digital nomads” and not tourists or foreigners?

Miles Jackson August 16, 2020 - 5:37 pm

It’s a growing trend. Countries are seeking an influx of foreign dollars without the frequent entry and exits of tourists. More stability means less exposure to potential sources of the Coronavirus.
Thanks for reading.

Penny Beale August 16, 2020 - 9:47 pm

Hey thanks for your article, I’m planning on moving to Bali as a nomad as soon as I can. I’m in NZ. How can I find out more about this programme and where or how t sign up/apply for it please?

Miles Jackson August 16, 2020 - 10:27 pm

Thanks for the question. Final legislation has not been introduced yet, but check back here as I will update it once we know the full details.

Vfly January 22, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Digital Nomads maybe responsible for paying local taxes…


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