Dubai: Citizens from Europe continue to enjoy a great deal of travelling power, with their passports enabling them to fly to more than 100 countries around the world without applying for a visa in advance, according to the latest Passport Index released this weekend.
The annual study by Arton Capital ranked Germany as the most powerful in the world, enabling passport holders to visit 157 destinations with ease as of 2017.
The index takes into account the number of destinations that can be visited without acquiring a visa prior to departure by travellers from more than 200 countries.
Within the GCC region, UAE took the crown as the most powerful passport, which allows nationals to travel to 122 countries visa-free or on arrival. The UAE was ranked as the world’s 27th most powerful passport.
Kuwait came second in the Gulf, with 81 countries allowing entry without a visa or with visa on arrival, followed by Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Among passport holders from South and Southeast Asia, those who are from Singapore topped the list, followed by Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Maldives in the top 5.
Passports of Indian nationals, ranked 11th in South and Southeast Asian regions, can travel to 46 countries without applying for a visa prior to departure. Philippine passport holders who emerged in the top ten can travel to 60 countries with ease, while those from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka can travel freely to 26, 37, 35 destinations, respectively.
In the overall list, Singapore overtook South Korea in the second position, with a visa free score of 156.South Korea fell to the sixth position, while Japan, rose to the fourth place, tied with European countries like Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, and others whose passports allow citizens to travel visa-free on arrival to 154 countries.
According to Arton Capital, more countries around the world have opened up their borders in recent times, with the “world openness score” rising from 17,925 in 2016 to 17,948 in the first few days of 2017.
However, the trend may not continue, with the recent backlash on globalisation. “The world openness score may be in danger of decline,” Arton Capital cautioned.
World's most powerful passports:
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 157
2. Singapore, Sweden
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 156
3. Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, UK, USA
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 155
4. Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal, Japan
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 154
5. Malaysia, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 153
6. Greece, South Korea, Australia
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 152
7. Czech Republic, Iceland
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 151
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 150
9. Malta, Poland
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 149
10. Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia
Number of countries with visa-free entry: 148
Passports in GCC:
1. UAE: 122
Global rank: 27
2. Kuwait: 81
Global rank: 50
3. Qatar: 77
Global rank: 51
4. Bahrain: 72
Global rank: 54
5. Oman: 69
Global rank: 56
6. Saudi Arabia: 66
Global rank: 58
10 most powerful passports in South and Southeast Asia:
1. Singapore: 156
Global rank: 2
2. Malaysia: 153
Global rank: 6
3. Hong Kong: 139
Global rank: 19
4. Taiwan: 119
Global rank: 29
5. Maldives: 72
Global rank: 54
6. Thailand: 70
Global rank: 55
7. Philippines: 60
Global rank: 64
8. Indonesia: 57
Global rank: 67
9. Cambodia: 49
Global rank: 75
10. Vietnam: 48
Global rank: 76
Source: Arton Capital