As I have written recently, more and more destinations are pursuing digital nomads to replace the tourists that once filled lodgings. Barbados has a new visa program that allows visitors to work remotely legally for up to a year, and Bermuda, Estonia, and several other countries have launched similar initiatives.
But beyond the welcome mat of legal paperwork, no place was throwing in added incentives for visitors until now.
The state of Hawaii is upping the game for temporary residents—and demanding a bit more in return.
All the rules are laid out on the website of the state's new Movers and Shakas program, but in a nutshell, each participant gets free airfare and a discounted hotel room for up to a month while searching for a more permanent place to live. The program will also supply assistance for finding full-time housing and will give discounts on coworking spaces.
In return, these digital nomads are expected to not only work from the island paradise (all of the islands are involved, except for Kauai), but to also give back to the community.
As the website puts it: "We require that M&S participants volunteer to share their expertise and professional connections among the local community so that Hawaii’s children and emerging technical talent can benefit from opportunities in the global job market. M&S seeks to build a reciprocal relationship between newcomers and the community such that Hawaii is enriched by the trend towards remote work."
What that means will be determined in time, I gather from the website. Right now, participants will be able to fulfill their volunteering commitment with Hawaiian Girl Scouts, but that's the only organization tapped so far. Apparently there will be more soon.
Applications are due December 15, 2020. The minimum stay requirement is 30 consecutive days.
Initially, just 50 people will be selected to participate. All must be American citizens and must either already have a job they can perform remotely or do the type of freelance work that will allow them to work that way.
I'll be interested to see how many of those 50 participants wind up saying aloha (hello) to Hawaii but decide to stay, never using aloha to say goodbye.
Pictured above: Lanikai Beach, Oahu