The advent of leisure travel is fairly new. In Europe, it began during the 19th century. At the time, water-travel provided the most speed, safety and comfort. Shortly after, an elaborate railway network was created. This led to travel for the sake of fun and tourism. In the century that followed air travel became prominent.
Today, many people see travel as a fundamental right. It's a door through which the world can be discovered—new countries, cultures and experiences. Passports are the keys to this door, some of which are more powerful than others.
Below, FlightHub and JustFly weigh in on the most powerful passports in the world for 2020.
The Henley Passport Index:
Citizens from several countries travel internationally with little to no restriction. The ability to travel freely is a privilege, one that is sometimes taken for granted or forgotten.
Travelers from a number of North American, European, Oceanian and Asian countries have visa-free entry to most destinations on Earth. Why do some nations have more access to global travel than others? The Henley Passport Index provides insight.
According to their official website, "The Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world's passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world's largest and most accurate database of travel information and enhanced by ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department."
The index features 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. It's also backed by expert feedback. The Henley Passport Index is updated on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Not only is it extensive, it's trustworthy, making it one of a kind.
The Most Powerful Passports in the World:
In the table below, FlightHub and JustFly present an abbreviated list of the top 32 most powerful passports in the world. It's worth noting that many are tied for the same position.
Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Germany occupy the top 3 ranks. Slovenia, Latvia and Iceland are lowest on this shortened version of the original list. However, their citizens still have access to 180 countries. This level of global access is significantly higher than Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan, whose citizens can visit between 26 and 32 countries respectively without visas.
Leisure travel has come a long way. The reasons why and how they travel may be changing, but it's showing no signs of slowing down. One of the most trusted passport ranking platforms is the Henley Passport Index. Although some may never stop to consider it, the ability to travel freely is a benefit that many would-be travelers don't have. For those fortunate enough to hold strong passports, this is a subtle reminder that a simple document grants access to global mobility.