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Wednesday, September 8, 2021
HomeTourismPandemic erodes strength of premium passports

Pandemic erodes strength of premium passports

The latest results and research from the Henley Passport Index show that while there is cause for optimism, it must be tempered with the reality that cross-border travel continues to be significantly obstructed.

Although some progress has been made, between January to March 2021, international mobility had been restored to just 12 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the same period in 2019, and the gulf between theoretical and actual travel access offered by even high-ranking passports remains significant.

While the dominance of European passports in the Top Ten has been a given for most of the index’s 16-year history, the pre-eminence of three Asian states — Japan, Singapore, and South Korea — has become the new normal.

There is a similarly gloomy outlook even in countries with highly successful Covid-19 vaccine rollouts: the UK and the US currently share joint-7th place on the index, following a steady decline since they held the top spot in 2014, with their passport holders theoretically able to access 187 destinations around the world.

Under current travel bans, however, UK passport holders have suffered a dramatic drop of over 70% in their travel freedom, currently able to access fewer than 60 destinations globally — a passport power equivalent to that of Uzbekistan on the index. US passport holders have seen a 67% decrease in their travel freedom, with access to just 61 destinations worldwide — a passport power equivalent to Rwanda’s on the Henley Passport Index.

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