DUBAI, 21 July – The release of the latest Henley Passport Index details the UAE as the Covid-19 winner.
The study, which ranks the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without obtaining a prior visa, is compiled using official data from the International Air Transport Association.
Over the past two years, as the world has battled the pandemic, the UAE passport has remained strong.
In the latest ranking, the UAE retains its position at No 15, the highest spot it has achieved since the launch of the index in 2006. It shares the ranking with Cyprus.
Emirati travellers are now able to visit 176 countries around the world on either a visa-free or visa-on-arrival basis. The index shows the UAE is also the biggest climber of the last decade, having gained 49 places from a ranking of No 64 in 2012.
The UAE is also the only Arab nation to rank in the top 20.
Elsewhere, there was only minor changes in the top 10 most powerful passports compared to the last ranking, which was released in April.
Japan retained its top spot, with a record-high visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 193.
Singapore slipped to joint second place alongside South Korea, with passport holders from both countries able to access 192 destinations around the world visa-free.
Despite leading the index, citizens of these three nations are currently the most restricted and reluctant to enjoy their travel freedom, with international passenger demand for the Asia-Pacific region reaching only 17 per cent of pre-Covid levels, according to Iata’s latest statistics.
The figure lags behind the global trend where destinations in Europe and North America have recovered to around 60 per cent of pre-crisis travel mobility levels.
“By next year, many markets should see traffic reach or exceed pre-pandemic levels, while we expect this to be the case for the industry as a whole in 2024,” said Marie Owens Thomsen, chief economist at Iata.
Here’s a list of the most powerful passports in the world:
2. Singapore / South Korea
3. Germany / Spain
4. Finland / Italy / Luxembourg
5. Denmark / Austria / Netherlands / Sweden
6. France / Ireland / Portugal / the UK
7. Belgium / New Zealand / Norway / Switzerland / the US
8. Australia / Canada / Czech Republic / Greece / Malta
10. Lithuania / Poland / Slovakia
11. Estonia / Latvia / Slovenia
15. The UAE / Cyprus
Source: The National News