Top Destinations for Executive Nomads


The modern executive nomad – a distant cousin of the freelance creative working from a cafe in Bali or Costa Rica – owns a villa in the Algarve or a condo in Miami, attends Zoom calls from an airy home office, and hops on a flight back to London, New York, or Geneva for the quarterly board meeting, latest industry findings report.

Lisbon is the best place in the world for “executive nomads” to live, says Savills after assessing the relative merits of 15 international hubs for long-term remote workers.

All the destinations on Savills Executive Nomad Index have either a digital nomad visa programme, or equivalent, or in the case of the US and European countries, are already part of a large economic bloc that allows free movement of people for living or work. “They offer favourable climates year-round, a high quality of life and have established prime residential markets,” adds the Savills team.

Provided travel connections are good and high-speed internet is reliable, individuals and families are motivated to relocate and are placing a greater emphasis on health, wellness and overall lifestyle.

Lisbon tops the ranking thanks to the high quality of life that Portugal offers. Low pollution and favourable climate are also advantages, as is decent physical connectivity, with a well-connected international airport. The Algarve, also in Portugal, ranks 4th on the list, offering many of the same benefits.

Young professionals typically rent small city centre apartments, while families look for larger homes in Lisbon or Cascais, a beachfront community close to the best international schools. Tech executives and entrepreneurs are also drawn by Lisbon’s burgeoning status as a tech hub. Real estate costs are low and there is a strong local talent pool. Companies are moving their headquarters to Portugal. The area is becoming more and more international.

Miami is in second place. It’s “a global gateway city but with a warm climate and beaches,” that has become a remote working hub in the US, says Savills. The team highlights Miami’s “big-city benefits” such as very good air connectivity, good digital infrastructure, a strong prime rental market, plus a “comparatively good quality of life.”

Third-place Dubai gets top marks for air connectivity, reaching over 100 countries with more than 240 destinations.

“Remote working enabled business owners from abroad to make Dubai their main hub,” says Helen Tatham, head of residential community sales & leasing at Savills Dubai. “In 2020 rents and sales volumes saw increases not witnessed since 2014, driven both by existing renters who wanted to make Dubai their permanent home, and by an influx of new residents.

“UK nationals have long favoured Dubai for holiday and work, but the market also benefited from new demand from French, German, Swedish and Swiss buyers.”

Barbados, which has the fastest internet in the Caribbean, ranks fifth in the nomad index , thanks to an appealing climate and good air connectivity. Sixth-place Barcelona also benefits from fast internet and strong global connectivity via air and rail.

As the workplace has evolved to a new, more flexible model, executive nomads are turning what were previously holiday-homes markets into year-round ones. Certain locations in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, as well as cities such as Lisbon, Miami and Dubai offer them connectivity, favourable climates and a high quality of life.

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