New Zealand passport not as powerful anymore, Japan holds top spot

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In its annual Passport Index ranking comparing the relative strength of the world's passports, the British consultancy firm Henley and Partners listed Taiwan as having the 32nd strongest passport in the world, and the eighth strongest in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to Henley & Partners, the UAE continues to prove it has one of the most upward trajectories, climbing 47 places in 10 years.

In stark contrast to the 191 countries accessible to Japan, the Afghan passport only affords holders visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 26 destinations. "The latest rankings show that the countries that embrace this reality are thriving, with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and the array of benefits that come with it".

The US and the United Kingdom had continued to fall on the index's rankings, with rising nationalism at home.

In contrast, Middle Eastern countries, including United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were gaining power.

It has ideally been attributed to the campaigns organized by the Ministry of foreign affairs together with the travels by the Presidency which have been believed to increase bilateral links since earlier past year.

SINGAPORE has lost its top spot in an index which ranks passport power and global mobility.

Little black book: New Zealand Passport is slipping in the rankings. Iraq and Syria rounded out the bottom three with 28 and 29 available destinations, respectively.

So what do the rankings mean and why should travellers care? .

South Korea tied with Germany for the third spot. They are followed by Slovenia and Latvia, which have visa-free arrangements with 180 countries and - together with Iceland - are ranked 11th globally. Demark, Luxembourg, and Spain came fifth, with their respective documents giving acess to 187 destinations across the globe.

Geza added:"The shift in South Africa's ranking is emblematic of the widening global mobility gap between African countries and other regions featured on the index, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (Iata)".

Asian passports appear to dominate the list, with European passports representing the remainder of the top spots.

The Kiwi passport which was ranked 4th in 2015 now shares 9th place with Canada and Australia.

Over the last decade, Rwanda has signed agreements with countries outside the continent to allow visa-free access to countries such as Qatar, Singapore and Indonesia, among others. Sudan and North Korea, 39 101.

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