Love to travel? For most travelers, several factors come into play before the opportunity to travel can be considered. Sometimes your passport can be a reason as to why you cannot visit a country of your choice. Difficult to believe, right? According to a WEF report based on the findings of a passport index listing by Henley & Partners, the three most powerful passports you can possess currently are from Japan, Singapore and South Korea. However, a powerful country is not synonymous with a powerful passport. An often cited example pertains to the Chinese passport, which is considered relatively weak despite its economic strength.
Note another significant point – all three countries have been ranked as joint first as per Henley & Partners Passport Index. This means that citizens of Japan, Singapore and South Korea enjoy visa-free access across 189 countries. Germany comes a close second at 188. The ‘weakest’ passport allows its holders access to just 30 destinations!
Before you feel elated or disappointed, keep in mind that these rankings change from year to year. In 2015, for instance, both the UK and US passports got ranked at numbers one and two. Now, as you can see, both countries have dropped outside the top five!
These days, visa-free travel is so common as it offers several advantages for millions of people. Consider how it can boost the travel and tourism economy of a country.
Another aspect is that it can contribute to a country’s GDP and job creation capacity, among others. For instance, the WEF report cites that in 2016 alone, the sector had contributed $7.6 trillion to the global GDP and also generated 292 million jobs. This also serves as a boost for international business.
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An interesting development pertains to three East African countries – Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda – which have come forward with an innovative initiative to market their region’s tourism products. For instance, Uganda is Kenya’s largest tourist source market in Africa, receiving more than fifty thousand tourists from its neighbouring country. The potential for boosting tourism between countries in a continent is now gaining momentum from the African continent. Also, by launching a joint tourism portal, the objective is to promote their tourism destinations and experiences as well, functioning as a one stop shop for travel information.
While the ranking for the world’s most powerful passports changes every year based on the visa-free criterion, it’s good to see that Japan has topped the list again this year as the world’s most powerful passport in 2019. The US, in comparison, ranked sixth alongside UK, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and Portugal. France and Germany made it to the third rank in this year’s list.
Travelers, time to get your bucket list ready for 2019!