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Gran Canaria attracts remote workers: "I know I am very privileged"


Since the home office boom, people have been moving to Gran Canaria to work from there or to try something completely different. The government of the Canary Islands is particularly happy about a special target group.

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Gran Canaria has had a difficult year.

The island lives from tourism, but the hotels are empty.

Remote workers are now making hope.

So employees who can do their job from anywhere.

Gran Canaria wants to offer an alternative to the classic home office.

Same work, but sunshine and sea.

For Melissa Vettel this is now everyday life.

For a month, her workplace has been the roof terrace of a guest house - for an indefinite period.

She has sublet her apartment in Berlin.

Melissa Vettel, web project manager:

“Now in January I have decided to go to Las Palmas for a few weeks to work.

It was clear to me from the start that it was the Canaries.

On the one hand, because the cases are very low, because Corona can be sealed off a bit by the tests that you have to do before the trip. "

In 2020, Gran Canaria was largely spared from Corona for a long time.

The infection curve picked up in mid-December, and the 7-day incidence is currently fluctuating again around 50. Tourists are allowed to enter, but they have to show a negative PCR test that is not older than 72 hours.

The federal government advises against unnecessary trips to the Canary Islands.

Melissa Vettel still does not find her behavior unethical.

Melissa Vettel, web project manager:

“Well, the fact is that Corona is currently everywhere in the world, and there are measures everywhere.

And I think that it doesn't really matter where you are in Europe, as long as you stick to the measures.

Basically, I feel very safe.

For me it was a bit strange at first that you have to wear masks on the streets, but you get used to it very quickly. "

The current Corona measures on Gran Canaria are harder in some points and lighter in others compared to Germany.

A mask requirement and a curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. apply.

Up to six people can meet for this and restaurants are open.

Co-working spaces are also still open under special conditions.

Jarmo Kruse rented a place here.

During the corona pandemic, he realized that his job in the financial sector was no longer fulfilling.

After the termination, I went to Gran Canaria.

Here he tries something completely new.

Jarmo Kruse, on sabbatical:

»I made a conscious decision to take a break and just want to find out what you can do.

I am currently learning a programming language.

Las Palmas has the advantages of a big city that is lively, by the sea and has a nice beach for surfing, but also secluded areas.

I don't see myself as a digital nomad for a lifetime, but it's nice to see a completely different life plan and to see how other people live their lives ».

Nacho Fernandez opened the first co-working space on Gran Canaria in 2014, and four co-living places have been added in recent years.

And now the pandemic.

Nacho Fernandez, CEO repeople:

»This winter in particular there was an explosion of remote workers visiting the Canary Islands and especially Gran Canaria.

The corona pandemic has had a major impact on the fact that there are many more digital nomads.

We call them entrepreneur nomads because many companies have allowed their employees to work remotely due to Corona.

At first from home, but many have felt the flexibility to go elsewhere and visit the Canary Islands «.

The government of the Canary Islands has invested half a million euros in a campaign to attract 30,000 remote workers to the island within five years.

Alberto Ávila is Marketing Director for tourism projects in the Canaries and leads the campaign.

Above all, it targets a young and flexible target group.

Alberto Ávila, Marketing Director:

»Remote workers are generally qualified, between 25 and 45 years old and have a career ahead of them.

As a rule, quality of life is more important to them than job security.

They are also looking for a slower pace of life and want to discover beautiful places.

Important: Without any family responsibility.


In terms of taxation, nothing will change for remote workers who work for a German company abroad.

Income tax is only due in Spain after a stay of 183 days, i.e. after six months at the earliest.

After work, Mellissa Vettel often strolls through the alleys of Las Palmas.

The Berliner particularly appreciates the variety that the capital offers despite Corona restrictions.

It is a privilege that the 32-year-old was able to pack her bags in order to live here.

Melissa Vettel, web project manager:

»I am very grateful that after work I can just go to the café and restaurant here, somehow have a coffee, meet one or two friends, and go hiking or surfing on the weekend.

Nevertheless, I am of course aware that not all people can do this and that I am very privileged right now. "

Remote instead of home office: it could become a big trend. And a little ray of hope for the ailing tourism industry on Gran Canaria.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-02-27

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