Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias on Wednesday announced a new initiative to facilitate the working conditions of digital nomads that choose Greece as a remote working base. The initiative will include better internet packages.
Speaking during the Next is Now conference in Athens, the minister said Greece is embracing the concept of digital nomads – those who combine working remotely with travelling to different countries and locations any time of the year and therefore support tourism during the off season.
“Many visitors stayed on the islands during winter and worked remotely through their computer. This is a global trend… So, we are embarking on an initiative with the private sector,” Kikilias said.
As announced, the tourism ministry will initially partner with Greek telecom company WIND. The cooperation will see the company offer attractive internet packages to digital nomads to facilitate their stay as they work from Greece. The ministry intends to cooperate with other telecom companies in a later stage.
Kikilias highlighted that the ministry will work with the local governments of the three destinations so as to ensure availability of accommodation, restaurants and coffee shops, so that digital nomads can “organize their lives” when they stay to work remotely from Greece.
He added that the digital nomads initiative in included in the ministry’s policy to extend the tourism season.
“Today’s announcement is proof of what it means to have a sustainable tourism product. We use new technologies and we give the possibility to open up the scope of the tourism product in a different way,” the tourism minister said.
WIND to offer special ‘digital nomad packages’
Speaking during a panel discussion at the Next is Now conference, WIND Corporate Communication Executive Director George Tsaprounis gave some details on the upcoming initiative.
“Telecom-wise we will have special packages to be offered to the digital nomads who will choose to work remotely from these cities (Ermoupolis, Heraklion, Kalamata). We will provide them with services and products, including a very fast connection,” Tsaprounis said, adding that the special packages for digital nomads will include backup systems.
“For example, if you have a stable connection with 100Mbps or 200Mbps, mobile internet will also be included in case there is a problem and this way you can carry on working,” he said.
Special card for privileges
Moreover, Tsaprounis said that a close cooperation is needed with the state – to provide incentives to digital nomads – for the initiative to be a success.
“We also need the private sector to set up specific services and products for them and, most importantly, we also need the local government to simplify procedures, to provide discounts at restaurants, etc,” he said.
WIND’s corporate communication executive said that the pilot phase of the initiative announced by Minsiter Kikilias includes a special card.
“When digital nomads in these three cities show this card, they will be provided with specific privileges,” he informed.
Tsaprounis added that in 2020 the number of digital nomads boomed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that people still choose such a work lifestyle.
“Greece has only to win from this initiative,” he said.
Greece improving its telecommunications infrastructure
On his part, Athanasios Staveris, Secretary General of Telecommunications & Posts, informed on the Ministry of Digital Governance efforts to facilitate Greece’s telecommunications infrastructure.
“Digital nomads constitute a special category of professionals and the selection of their accommodation and the destination can be anywhere in Greece… What they opt for is to have a possibility for good internet, even more than the possibility of having a telephone conversation,” Staveris said and referred to one of the ministry’s actions for faster internet connection, which can help attract more digital nomads.
“What we saw as a solution was the mixture of land and satellite infrastructure and thus we facilitate innovation, entrepreneurship, the economy and of course society. The mixing of these infrastructures can provide connectivity everywhere,” he said, adding that companies can offer consumers with internet services via satellite, ensuring stable high-speed connections with slow response time.
According to the secretary general, such satellite internet infrastructure has been tested via HellasSat 4, the geostationary communication satellite, with impressive results.
“This means that in practice, digital nomads can select any area in Greece that interests them, no matter how remote it is, and work there with a very fast and reliable internet connection,” Staveris said.