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World’s most travel-friendly passport list – 2021

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Japan tops the list of most travel-friendly passports.

The Henley Passport Index, which rates which passports are the most travel-friendly, has just released the list for 2021, with Japan once again at the top of the list.

But the Index noted that this year’s international travel freedom comparison is mostly theoretical as the current Covid-19 situation continues to limit most international travel.

With a Japanese passport, travellers can enter 193 countries without a visa or with a visa-on-arrival. On the other end of the list, an Afghanistan passport can only get into 26 countries. The gap of 167 countries is the widest gap since the Henley Passport Index began tracking this data 15 years ago in 2006.

Singapore kept its second-place this year standing with just one less destination than Japan, followed by Germany and South Korea tied for 3rd place with 191 destinations. The rest of the top 10 are mainly European countries, with the exception of New Zealand and the US as part of the 5-way tie for 7th place with 187 destinations, and Australia and Canada tied for 9th place with 185 destinations.

The US and UK passports took a tumble, once tied for the most travel-friendly passport back in 2014, now losing ground slipping to 7th place. On the other hand, United Arab Emirates strengthened diplomatic ties worldwide and jumped 50 spots this year from 65th all the way to 15th. Over the decade, the climb is even more dramatic, with the Emirates exploding from 67 destinations 10 years ago up 107 destinations to 174 this year. China did well also, climbing 22 places since 2011, up to number 68 on the list.

Thailand’s passport is tied with Saudi Arabia at 66th with 79 destinations available without an advance visa.

The full list of most travel-friendly passports…
1. Japan (193 destinations)
2. Singapore (192)
3. Germany, South Korea (191)
4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (190)
5. Austria, Denmark (189)
6. France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden (188)
7. Belgium, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (187)
8. Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Norway (186)
9. Australia, Canada (185)
10. Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia (183)

Henley and Partners predict that the spread in passport access will mirror Covid-19 affected travel. Rich and mobile regions like the US, UK, EU and UAE are getting access to vaccination, hastening their ability to travel, while poorer and developing economies are experiencing a much slower vaccine roll-out.

Experts from Syracuse University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Migration Policy Centre predict this trend will continue with potentially devastating long-term effects.

Countries that can afford and facilitate vaccination for their citizens quickly will be able to welcome travellers in for tourism and business and be able to travel more themselves. Conversely, countries that can’t afford the storage and distribution of vaccines will be less able to travel or welcome tourism income, widening a global wealth gap.

Remote working and the digital nomad lifestyle has been booming in recent years and with Covid-19 forcing businesses to adapt to telecommuting, the post-pandemic world will see more remote working, and countries falling behind with vaccinations will suffer the long-term loss in tourism dollars too.

SOURCE: CNN

World's most travel-friendly passport list - 2021 | News by Thaiger

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Remo

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    These times it is better to stay home.

  2. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    I think the visa requirements are are enforced on nationalities that might not go home, such a Afganistan.
    Countries that are poor, without hope, and under a rotten corrupt regime.
    I am sure there would be a lot of Thais that would not go home, if they were allowed into western countries. I know of a few back in the UK. Ex bargirls mostly.

  3. Avatar

    Gosport

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    If have money, who cares what visa? if you have the right visa, no money, who cares the visa? The most travle friendly visa is money no matter where do you live.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Phuket

TAT looks forward to welcoming 129,000 foreign tourists to Phuket

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr / jeiline

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says it expects 129,000 tourists to arrive on the southern island of Phuket in the first 3 months of its re-opening. Officials still insist the island will re-open for quarantine-free travel for vaccinated foreign tourists from July 1. And according to the Bangkok Post, the TAT also plans to team up with airlines to offer 100,000 subsidised one-way domestic air tickets.

The association is in talks with Thai Airways and Thai Smile Airways about offering a 1,000 – 2,000 baht subsidy towards domestic air fares for tourists participating in Phuket’s sandbox scheme. The scheme will also be expanded to include all local carriers.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn expects around 30,000 – 40,000 tourists a month, through Phuket’s sandbox model, with the primary target being long-haul markets. According to Yuthasak, 7-day packages in Phuket will be on offer for a somewhat eye-watering 150,000 – 200,000 baht per visitor, a significant increase on the 50,000 baht average spending per trip prior to the pandemic.

The Bangkok Post reports that most tourists will be required to arrive via a direct flight to Phuket. However, in the event of there being no available time slots at the airport, tourists will be permitted to transfer via Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport using a dedicated sealed terminal.

Once the other 9 sandbox areas join the re-opening, Yuthasak expects between 3 and 4 million tourists in the last quarter of the year. He says standard operating procedures to govern the entry of foreign tourists, including Covid-19 testing and guidelines for sealed routes, will be submitted to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration this month. Once approved and published in the Royal Gazette, tourism operators can launch their sales and marketing plans.

Yuthasak adds that work is needed on the supply and administration of vaccines, pointing out that new clusters in places like Bangkok could affect vaccine administration in Phuket.

“The new outbreak in Thailand didn’t affect tourism sentiment in foreign markets as the media in each country turned their focus towards the situation in India and domestic cases in their own countries. However, travel agents expressed concern that the virus situation may affect the reopening timeline which prompted TAT to confirm that everything is running as scheduled.”

He said travel agents are waiting for clear entry regulations, so they can offer packages to their customers.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Business

Thailand’s airlines call for meeting with PM to discuss soft loans

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Ferry Octavian

The Thai Airlines Association says 7 member airlines are pushing for a meeting with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss the option of soft loans. The carriers have been seeking this financial aid for some time and have even decreased the amount being asked for, from 24 billion baht last year to 14 billion now.

The Bangkok Post reports that representatives from Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Smile Airways, Thai Lion Air, and Thai Vietjet Air want to meet the PM to discuss what progress, if any, has been made on the matter. Wutthipong Prasartthong-osod from the TAA says the loans would give the carriers the support they desperately need at this time, with the association also putting the request in writing.

The airlines previously met with the PM last August to discuss the proposal, with the TAA pointing out the situation has worsened considerably since then. The ongoing third wave of Covid-19 has led to a reduction in flights, which has had a significant impact on revenue.

In addition, carriers are struggling to meet the ongoing costs of operating flights and paying workers. The association says the provision of soft loans would cushion the impact and help domestic tourism. It is also calling on the government to vaccinate airline staff, given that they are frontline workers in the tourism sector.

The Bangkok Post reports that in February, the Finance Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, was hesitant in his response to the call for soft loans, with the Export-Import Bank of Thailand asked to come up with some form of financial assistance for the airlines. According to Arkhom, providing soft loans or bringing such lending under the Public Service Account would mean his ministry having to take responsibility for the difference between market interest and soft loan interest.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Phuket restrictions and bans extended, new ‘party’ clause added

Tim Newton

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UPDATE: Including a new clause…

“5.2 Participating in eating or drinking of alcohol, in the family home or in any other place of residence, must not be attended by outsiders. In addition, gathering together or the organising of any other activities is prohibited. If the person who violates or commits this offence is a foreigner, the permission to remain living in Thailand under the Immigration Act could be revoked.”

The new clause added to the extension of the restrictions includes a specific paragraph aimed at banning gatherings of people at their homes. Obviously with THIS in mind.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Phuket’s list of current ‘Covid’ restrictions have been extended until at least May 31. All the current levels of restrictions will remain until the end of the month after the Phuket Governor announced the continuation of restrictions this afternoon.

Daily new infection numbers continue to add to the island’s total of 556 since the start of April. The island’s latest wave started after a series of events, mostly Bangkok partygoers flying down for parties at Café Del Mar in Kamala, Illusion and Shelter, both in Bangla Road. The parties were organised by a Thong Lor based events company called Kolour. The daily numbers, whilst relatively stable, have not been going down as officials were hoping.

The announcement also puts any hope of a July 1 ‘quarantine free’ tourism opening in severe doubt. The island’s vaccine roll out has also slowed since the initial flurry of enthusiasm. Only 22% of Phuket’s population has currently been vaccinated (a long way ahead of the rest of the country) whilst the minimum vaccination level has to reach 70% according to the Government before they will entertain the ‘Sandbox’ opening proposal.

Entry to the island, by road or air, will remain restricted and anyone without proof of vaccination or a current PCR Covid test (within 72 hours) will have to do a full 14 day quarantine period (after May 15). The rapid Covid tests that were being conducted at the airport and Tha Chatchai Checkpoint are being stopped from this Saturday.

Notably, following the story of foreigners in Cherngtalay being fined 6,000 baht each for hosting a party at their home on Sunday night, the ban on gatherings and parties will continue.

Meanwhile, the island has reported its first death during the third wave of cases since the start of April, and a new cluster of infections in the Phoon Pon district in Phuket Town. The man that died was a 71 year old man who died yesterday morning.

UPDATE: Phuket restrictions and bans extended, new 'party' clause added | News by Thaiger

 

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