Table of Contents
Henley & Partners, responsible for creating the yearly Henley Passport Index, rolls out the updated list for 2018. The Index ranks countries depending on the level of travel freedom enjoyed by its citizens and for this year, the biggest eye-catcher happens to be Singapore as it grabs the number 2 spot in a global index together with Germany. Meanwhile, Japan is still on top of the list. The index is updated several times during the course of the year, surveying a total of 227 travel destinations against 199 passports.
Second Quarter Ranking
Singapore’s position makes it one of the most travel-friendly countries as it provides either visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to 188 countries. It’s excellent ranking also earned it the top spot in the region-based index with Malaysia placing a close second. Malaysia’s visa-free access extends to a total of 180 countries. On a global scale, Malaysia is ranked within the Top 10 as it holds the number 9 spot.
Globally, the number 1 spot is held by Japan by a very close margin as it offers visa-free access to 189 countries. Japan’s recent addition of Benin to the list starting March of this year clinched it the top rank in the Index.
Offering both regional and global ranking, the company makes it very easy to make comparisons from one country to the next. For example, the global structure shows that multiple countries from different regions occupy the 3rd spot, including South Korea, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. The 4th spot is claimed by the US, the UK, Netherlands, Portugal, and Luxembourg. Despite the political situation in the US, the global power actually climbed higher in the list compared to the First Quarter. While not in the Top 50, China’s changes also caught the eye of the public as it jumps several positions from 74 to 68 in the list. It’s now ahead of the Philippines which sits at the 70th mark and offers visa-free access to 66 countries. Other Asian countries which made their mark are Thailand at 64 and Indonesia at 67. Regionally, however, the two occupy the 5th and 6th positions respectively.
What This Means
The Henley & Passport Index measures the degree of freedom citizens enjoy in their respective countries. Compiled and created in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association, the Index gives a good view on how the different territories welcome travellers and the travel-capacity of their own citizens. The Index follows a defined methodology which takes into consideration the valid passports issued by a country to an adult citizen visiting another territory for tourism or business for a period of at least 3 days. With this Index, countries can assess their openness to welcome the rest of the world and somehow provides surface insight on the friendliness of States with each other.
Third and Fourth Quarter
With the year 2018 far from over, there’s a good chance that the above rankings will be changing soon, especially with the close margin between the 1st and 2nd spots in the global arena. Despite that competitive atmosphere of the ranks, though, the ever-increasing visa-free access is good not just for the frequent flyer but also for the country.