Latest Henley Passport Index results reflect how complex travel is today

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Latest Henley Passport Index results reflect how complex travel is today
Source: Twitter @WTTC
January 11, 2022

The report revealed that the global mobility gap has grown to record highs since the index was created 17 years ago


The latest Henley Passport Index results show unprecedented levels of travel freedom for the top-ranked countries, Japan and Singapore, but also the largest global mobility gap recorded since the index was created 17 years ago. Disregarding temporary restrictions related to Covid, passport holders from the two Asian countries can enter 192 destinations around the world without a visa, 166 more than Afghanistan, which ranks last in the index.

This growing gap in international mobility between the richest and poorest countries was evident late last year with the series of punitive restrictions related to Ómicron against mainly African countries, which the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, described as "apartheid in travel". This, despite the fact that the general levels of freedom of travel have increased considerably in the last two decades. According to historical data from the Henley Passport Index, which classifies all passports in the world according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa and is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a person could , on average, visiting 57 countries in 2006 without the need for a visa. Nowadays,

Covid-19 exacerbates inequality in global mobility
Germany and South Korea remain in second place in the last ranking, as passport holders can access 190 destinations without a visa, while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain share third place, with a score of 189. US and UK passports have regained some of their previous strength, having dropped to eighth in 2020, the lowest place occupied by any of the two countries in the index's 17-year history. Both countries are now in 6th place, scoring 186 in the visa waiver / visa on arrival category. 

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and inventor of the passport index concept, says that opening up migration channels is essential for post-pandemic recovery. "Passports and visas are among the most important instruments influencing social inequality around the world, as they determine opportunities for global mobility. The borders where we are born and the documents we are entitled to have are no less arbitrary than the color of our skin. The wealthiest states must encourage positive immigration to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources around the world".

Commenting on the Henley Global Mobility Report 2022 Q1, which was released today in conjunction with the latest Henley Passport Index, Prof. Mehari Taddele Maru of the Center for Migration Policy notes that "costly requirements associated with international travel institutionalize inequality and discrimination. Covid-19 and its interaction with instability and inequality have exposed and exacerbated the outrageous disparity in international mobility between rich developed nations and their poorer counterparts". 

Greater uncertainty expected in 2022
Misha Glenny, an award-winning journalist and associate professor at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, notes in the report the effect of the pandemic on the broader geopolitical trends of migration and mobility: "The very presence de Ómicron points to a major geopolitical failure. If the United States, Britain and the EU had allocated more money and vaccines to southern Africa, the chances of such a robust new strain emerging would have been much lower. Until we share the distribution of vaccines more equitably, new mutations will have the ability to return us all to the starting square". 

Dr. Andreas Brauchlin, internationally renowned specialist in cardiology and internal medicine and member of the Advisory Board of the SIP Office of the Medical Family in Switzerland, agrees and states in the report that "the state of health and vaccination A person's mobility affects both the mobility and visa-free access of their passport. Being a resident of the "wrong" nation can greatly impact access to medical, healthcare and business services, rendering some unable to travel".

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