With the COVID-19 pandemic slowing down worldwide yet still rampant in much of the U.S., remote work has an will continue to be the norm across the country and in many parts of the world. But it seems that distanced work could come with a silver lining—ad and loads of vitamin D. According to multiple reports, the island of Barbados wants you to ditch your home office (read: your couch) for its sandy shores.

The island announced potential plans last week to introduce a 12-month welcome stamp, to reignite its economy dependent on U.S. tourism. While travel to the island did not previously require a visa for U.S. citizens, travelers were only able to stay in Barbados for up to six months without a tourist or work visa. This stamp would grant access to remain on the island for up to a year, and give anyone with the stamp the ability to work remotely for their employer, regardless of where that company was based.

In an interview with Sky News UK about the initiative, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley outlined the thought process behind the 12-month stamp, explaining that the pandemic has forced those willing to travel to consider trips that span weeks or even months, rather than the short-term vacations tourists were planning in years past.

“COVID-19 has presented tremendous challenges to those countries that are tourism and travel dependent and we have reached a position where we recognize that part of the challenge relates to short term travel…So, if we can have a mechanism that allows people who want to…take advantage of being in a different part of the world, of the sun, sea and sand, and…a stable society; one that functions well, then Barbados is a perfect place for you to come,” she said. “Rather than coming for the usual week, or three weeks or a month, why not plan out your business, given the fact that all we have gotten from COVID-19 is uncertainty. So, we can give you certainty for the next 12 months…and you can work from here.”

In light of the economic difficulties posed by the pandemic around the world, Mottley hopes that the stability and serenity of the island will lure those with remote work to the island’s shores, noting in her interview that visitors would have access to rent the villas, condos, hotel rooms, and rental properties available on the island. She also noted that communal workspaces were being designed in preparation for those interested in using them.

To date, Barbados has a reported 98 cases of COVID-19 with 8,617 total tests completed, according to the country’s Government Information Service; those cases resulted in 7 deaths, with 90 cases recovered and one currently in isolation. Given the pandemic’s small footprint in Barbados compared to countries like Italy, the United States, Brazil, France, Spain, and more, the country seems to be banking on its soothing landscapes, slow pace, idyllic weather, and COVID-stable surroundings to attract tourists-turned-short-term residents.

For those concerned about WiFi—and if you’ve attempted to post a selfie from an island vacation in the past, you’d be right to speculate about a strong signal—Mottley notes that Barbados is already considering ways to boost connectivity. “In terms of the broadband, we have two major telecommunications companies, and at the same time we are looking to see how we can continue to boost our national television station and move it from being a broadcasting entity to digital services,” she said in her Sky News UK interview, reported by Barbados’ information site.

Barbados re-opened for tourism on July 12, joining other countries like Aruba, Bermuda, Croatia, Cambodia, French Polynesia, the Maldives, Mexico, St. Lucia, Serbia, Turks & Caicos, and more in welcoming U.S. tourists. Visitors are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to their departure, and bring the results with them to present upon arrival. Starting on July 15, Barbados will require all visitors to fill out their test results in an online form upon arrival as well. As for safety measures and activity on the island, stores, parks, and restaurants reopened to the public on June 1, and all businesses and beaches resumed business on June 15.

And while many countries (primarily the European Union) aren’t so quick to welcome U.S. tourists, Barbados isn’t the only country tempting travelers with incentives to board a flight ASAP. Although not currently open to American travelers, Sicily recently announced a €50 million initiative to reimburse tourists for hotel stays (one of every three-nights to be exact) and discount the price of airfare by 50%, encouraging those making plans for late 2020 and 2021 to head to the Italian Mediterranean destination, according to Forbes. The incentive also includes free access to museums and archaeological sites.

The lesson, in short: If you’re looking to get away, pack your bags. Yes, we will travel again. It just might be for far longer than we expected and be a business trip instead of a vacation—to paradise.

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