Some companies are urging employees to return to the office after a two-year stretch of pandemic flexibility. But there’s a subset of Americans whose jobs are going to stay permanently remote. For some of these workers, that freedom has spurred the realization that they can plug in their laptops from anywhere in the world.

Countries, meanwhile, have an eye on these “work tourists.” Eager to recoup tourism dollars lost during the pandemic, some of them are even crafting visa policies that allow remote workers to stay for months at a time.

Aside from changing the nature of tourism, this shift also has an effect on local communities that have traditionally expected international visitors to leave after short stays.

Rachael Woldoff and Robert Litchfield, authors of “Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community, and Meaningful Work in the New Economy,” write about the dynamic between remote workers and local communities in places like Bali and Mexico City. Some residents, they observe, are starting to bristle at the ways in which these long-term visitors are affecting culture, cost of living and housing.

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Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

A tourist has makeup done ahead of Day of the Dead on Oct. 30, 2021, in Mexico City. Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images

As countries ranging from Indonesia to Mexico aim to attract digital nomads, locals say ‘not so fast’

Rachael A. Woldoff, West Virginia University; Robert Litchfield, Washington & Jefferson College

Locals usually see tourists as a way to boost the economy. But at a certain point, resentment starts to build.

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