Several Belgrade-based IT organizations have joined together to create a new digital platform that promotes Serbia to digital nomads.
The platform, BelgradeGetsDigital, aims to maintain Serbia’s excellent reputation among digital nomads and attract new remote workers to the country.
“The organizations around BelgradeGetsDigital are connected with the idea that investing in the digital economy is a great chance for the economic development of our country,” Tijana Stefanović, project coordinator at Digital Serbia Initiative, told Emerging Europe. “Digital nomads bring international experience that is very important for the development of this sector, indirectly contributing to the development of the entire society.”
Belgrade, Serbia’s capital city, has become a hot spot for digital nomads in recent years, ranking eighth on Nomad List’s Best Places to Live for Digital Nomads in 2021.
According to DSI, foreign remote workers are attracted to the city because of its friendly people, solid start-up and coworking scene and extensive transportation system.
Despite those qualities, most digital nomads stay in Serbia for less than 90 days before moving on.
The creators of BelgradeGetsDigital hope to change that pattern, and early results look promising.
“The promotional campaign aimed at the nomads themselves has resulted in over 40,000 hits to the website and around 500 concrete enquiries by those who are getting ready to come to Belgrade,” said Stefanović.
Making it easier for remote workers to stay in Serbia long-term will also help.
Other countries in the region, including Estonia, Croatia and Georgia, have introduced special digital nomad visas over the last 18 months, betting that remote workers will help their economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Serbia has yet to make the leap.
Instead, the government has implemented a digitized program that allows foreigners, including digital nomads, to apply to stay in the country for up to 12 months.
While the program doesn’t have a specific income requirement, applicants must prove they have the ability to support themselves.
Johannes Hindler, a digital nomad living in Serbia for around two years, welcomed the change.
“I am looking forward to seeing how it works,” he said. “I think it’s a step in the right direction.”