Travel TrendsCitizens holding the most powerful passports can’t travel as freely as one would imagine.

With peace comes greater power for world's top passports

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The most powerful passport belongs to Japan, where its nationals can visit 193 countries visa free, according to Henley Passport Index in Q3.
The most powerful passport belongs to Japan, where its nationals can visit 193 countries visa free, according to Henley Passport Index in Q3. Photo Credit: GettyImages/ iammotos

Power does not translate into freedom, as the world’s most accessible passports have shown. The Henley Passport Index in Q3 shows that the world's top three most powerful passports all hail from Asia Pacific, but international passenger demand in this region is still much lower than others.

Japan currently takes the crown for the world's most most powerful passport with a record-high visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 193, while Singapore and South Korea both tie at second place, with a score of 192.

Despite being able to visit almost every country around the world, the international passenger demand in the Asia Pacific region has only reached 17% of pre-Covid levels, according to IATA’s latest statistics. Over the past two years, it hovered below 10%.

Asia Pacific’s figures are far behind Europe’s and North America’s, which have recovered to around 60% of pre-Covid levels. Dr Marie Owens Thomsen, Chief Economist at IATA, says passenger numbers should reach 83% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022. “By next year, many markets should see traffic reach or exceed pre-pandemic levels, while we expect this to be the case for the industry as a whole in 2024.”

The rest of the top 10 spots on Henley Passport Index is mainly populated by European countries. Germany and Spain are in joint third place with access to 190 destinations. The fourth spot goes to Finland, Italy, and Luxembourg, which offer access to 189 destinations. Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden share the fifth place with access to 188 destinations worldwide without a visa.

Both the UK and US have dropped down a rank, to sixth and seventh positions, respectively, and Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the index where its people are only able to access 27 destinations visa-free.

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