Dubai most-popular beach city for digital nomads

UAE's new remote work visa boosts emirate's popularity with freelancers

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Dubai is the most popular beach city for digital nomads with 27,007 Instagram users tagging #digitalnomad on their posts, a new study of the most popular destinations for remote workers found.

The UAE city is also the second most-popular destination in the Middle East and Central Asia, according to the analysis by, a Netherlands-based resume building platform, which analysed the data for 90,000 #digitalnomad posts and ranked the cities for freelancers in 2021.

Dubai's popularity comes after the UAE unveiled a one-year residency permit for remote workers last month  to help attract more talent to the region and boost business opportunities.

Overseas remote-working professionals can now live in the Emirates while continuing to serve their employers in their home country.

The programme follows the success of a remote-working programme unveiled in Dubai in October that also encouraged people who work remotely long term to move to the emirate.

“Dubai is a great place for digital nomads to stay while globetrotting," said. “It’s one of the only places on the list to have a virtual working visa, allowing people access to schools, utilities and more."

While digital nomads have had their wings clipped by coronavirus travel restrictions, some hardy freelancers are continuing their quest to work and explore the world.

The study found that Vancouver in Canada is the digital nomad capital of the world, with 57,401 Instagram pics tagged there in 2021.

The city is popular for its proximity to both mountains and beaches with freelancers also attracted to its grassroots arts scene, however, it is also one of the most expensive places to live.

New York was the second-most popular destination in North America, with Playa Del Carmen in Mexico taking third position.

Meanwhile, London in England was crowned the top digital nomad destination in Europe, with 47,244 posts. The UK capital's popularity was boosted by its easy links to other destinations via the city’s airports and train connections.

The French capital of Paris was the second-most popular spot in Europe for freelancers, followed by Lisbon in Portugal.

In the Middle East and Central Asia, Bangkok in Thailand came first thanks to its affordable lifestyle, with Dubai in second place and Ubud in Bali in third.

Cape Town in South Africa led the most-popular destinations in Africa, Medellin in Colombia took the top spot in South America and Melbourne in Australia came in first place for the rest of Asia and Oceania, closely followed by Sydney.