An unprecedented six countries have claimed the top spot on the 2024 Henley Passport Index, offering their citizens the most powerful passports with visa-free access to 194 destinations out of 227 around the world. Joining the elite club of the world’s most powerful passports are four EU member states — France, Germany, Italy, and Spain — standing shoulder to shoulder with Asian powerhouses Japan and Singapore. The two Asian countries, leaders on the Henley Passport Index for the past five years, continue to showcase the strength of their passports, maintaining their grip on the first-place ranking.
The Henley Passport Index's top 10 is largely dominated by European countries, with South Korea joining Finland and Sweden in second place, boasting visa-free travel to 193 destinations. Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands share the third position with access to 192 destinations. The United Kingdom climbed two ranks to fourth place with visa-free access to 191 destinations, reflecting an improvement from the previous year.
India is currently ranked 80th on the 2024 Henley Passport Index, with visa-free access to 62 destinations, including popular tourist destinations like Thailand, Indonesia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and Maldives.
“The average number of destinations travellers are able to access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024. However, as we enter the new year, the top-ranked countries are now able to travel to a staggering 166 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the ranking with access to just 28 countries without a visa,” Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, said.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as the biggest climber over the past decade, ascending a remarkable 44 places in the ranking, from 55th to 11th position. Other notable climbers include Ukraine and China, each gaining a net total of 21 places over the past 10 years. Ukraine now stands at 32nd place with 148 visa-free destinations, while China secures the 62nd spot with access to 85 destinations without a prior visa.
While Russia has seen a net gain of 24 destinations over the past decade, its visa-free score and ranking have remained relatively stable since 2017. Currently, Russia holds the 51st place with access to 119 destinations, showcasing consistency in its global mobility standing.
Article source: hindustantimes.com