Let’s be honest. In these times of an unprecedented pandemic, we are all struggling.
I fight. You struggle. We are all struggling. (Let’s say it all together now!)
We find it difficult to work. We are struggling to find the motivation. To balance new routines. Make ends meet.
Now imagine being responsible for a whole country in trouble.
You have $ 3.3 billion in lost tourism revenue and 11.5% of your country’s GDP to factor in. All gone.
And to top it off, 150,000 employees in the tourism sector are now mostly unemployed, with no income for the foreseeable future. All the extra expenses – eating out, drinking in bars and other “extravagances” – all outside the window, affecting these businesses as well.
A spillover effect on the economy continues indefinitely.
All of this is the result of the pandemic, the spread of which you have mostly managed to control, which has earned you international recognition as one of the “safest European destinations to visit during COVID-19. (Importantly, cases hit an unprecedented daily high today with 919 new confirmed cases, bringing the country’s total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 14,440.)
Since it looks like this will be the reality of the world for a while, what are you doing to try and get your struggling economy back on track?
Well, you change. You learn how to recoup foreign expenses without jeopardizing your own community.
This is how Remote georgia started and how Georgia (the country) decided to fight the loss of tourism. It’s a good start.
According to Anti-crisis plan for the revival of tourism of the Georgian Government and the Georgian National Tourism Administration on its stopcov.ge website, Georgia received nearly 9.4 million visitors in 2019. In January and February of this year, international tourism was already up 10%, and 2020 is expected to be a big year for Georgia, given the buzz they’ve created as one of the hottest destinations in recent years.
Basically 2020 was going to be a big year for tourism in Georgia. And then the coronavirus arrived.
Now, with a second wave starting to hit and border restrictions remaining in place, along with a lack of international and long-haul flights, Georgia, it seems, is attracting foreigners from the right way.
In general, tourism is only open to citizens of a few countries, including Germany, France, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, allowing citizens of these five designated countries to arrive by flight. direct only, without mandatory quarantine. A rapid antigen test is needed at the airport.
Apart from that, the borders remain completely closed. To the Americans. To the British. To the Israelis. To everybody.
So what exactly is remote Georgia? And how do you apply?
The structure of the Remotely from Georgia program is pretty awesome.
With a quarantine of 8 days (compared to 12 days), freelancers, entrepreneurs and full-time employees working remotely from 95 countries, including those most affected by the pandemic (United States, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and United Kingdom), are invited to apply to travel and enter Georgia on a work visa under this program.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as applying. There are caveats. (Isn’t there always?)
To qualify for the remote worker visa, applicants must prove a few key elements. These are all things that at first glance ensure that the incoming candidate will contribute positively to the local economy.
This means that they will not accept local work. They have non-disposable income. And they won’t overwhelm the health care system without being able to pay for medical bills.
Clever. Clever. Clever.
To apply, you must first submit proof of income of at least $ 2,000 per month. You can show this by submitting pay stubs, bank statements, etc.
Second, proof of travel insurance for a minimum of six months (the minimum length of stay to apply for the program) must also be submitted.
Applicants are asked if they will be traveling alone, their marital status and the port of entry they will use.
Within weeks, applicants learn if they have been accepted into the program or if their application has been rejected. Once accepted, an invitation letter from the Georgian government is issued, serving as a pass for all access to enter the country.
Now for the fun part. Enter Georgia.
Upon landing, a rapid antigen test is administered and an 8-day quarantine is required. When you stay 180 days, what are eight days in quarantine? (Again, smart.)
Remote workers can choose the hotel in which they are doing their quarantine. Meals are provided, but food delivery is also allowed, so don’t worry – you can taste khachapuri as soon as possible. Alcohol of any kind is not allowed.
During quarantine, PCR tests are required every 72 hours, plus on the day of their release (eighth day) and on the twelfth day after landing.
All costs are the responsibility of the teleworker. Hotel costs depend on the hotel, and PCR tests cost 250 Georgian lari, or around $ 80 each.
Since the app launched on August 27, 2020, nearly 3,000 freelancers, entrepreneurs and full-time remote workers from around the world have applied.
The accepted candidates have already started to enter the country.
The program is far from perfect, but it is clear that the government is trying to be creative in making up for losses in any way it can, while trying to keep the country – and its citizens safe – safe.