As the UAE opens its doors to the world for the start of Expo 2020, the world’s ultimate real-time tool on global mobility, the Passport Index, has revealed a 14.8 per cent increase in the World Openness Score at the start of Q4, since the beginning of the year.

Commenting on the latest rankings, Armand Arton, President of Arton Capital, the creators of the Passport Index, said: “To start Q4 with a 14.8 percent increase in global mobility shows that the world is thankfully opening up once more, and on an encouragingly positive trajectory.”

While up nine percent on the last quarter, the average global mobility score, across all 199 states measured by the index, is 89; based on a total of visa-free or visa-on-arrival access provided.

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect travel and mobility and it is testament to the many countries around the world that have managed to take a lead in seeing the world opening once more. In July 2021, Bloomberg’s Covid tracking data reported that the UAE was the most vaccinated country, in the world, with over 73.8 per cent of the population vaccinated.

Based on a mobility score that totals the number of visa-free or visa-on-arrival countries a passport currently grants the holder, the Passport Index also notes Covid-related restrictions that are changing by the day. This allows travelers and governments to have the most up to date information on global mobility – in real time.

While European passports continue to lead in the global rankings, Australia, and South Korea (MS 144) both improved their mobility score going into Q4, moving into joint second place, along with Germany and Spain. The UK, Canada, the US, (MS 142/joint 5th) and Singapore (MS 141/6th) were the only other non-European passports in the Passport Index’s top 10.

“In addition to pandemic-related restrictions, geo-political events of the last three months have also seen the extra ordinary circumstances create travel, mobility, and migration issues to and from Afghanistan – although the Afghan passport, prior to recent events, was already ranked lowest on the mobility score. While clearly a difficult time for many concerned, times of crisis can often put the issue of global mobility firmly into the spotlight,” Arton added.

The Passport Index is more than just a simple ranking tool; unlike other indicators on global mobility, the Passport Index’s data can reflect the temporary and often disruptive geo-political or pandemic-related travel restrictions – in real time.

In addition, the index’s ability to offer insights across several socio-political influencers means that many foreign ministries around the world are already using the platform to analyze and compare their policies with others.

In the GCC, the UAE was the biggest climber, across Q3 2021, moving up four places to the number one spot. Over the last quarter, other GCC nations remain in similar rankings: Bahrain down seven places to 52nd (MS 80), Kuwait down eight to 50th (MS 85), Oman down seven to 56 (MS 75), Qatar down seven to 47 (MS 91), and Saudi Arabia down five in 55th place (MS 76).

With many COVID-19 travel restrictions still in play across the African continent, movement, and mobility scores here are either stagnant or have dropped several places since the start of the year and in Q3. At the turn of Q4 2021, the only improved mobility score since the start of the year is not on the continental mainland – The Seychelles (MS 111) in 29th position – the same ranking held at the beginning of the last quarter.

The Passport Index is the ultimate, interactive passport ranking tool in the world. Invented and empowered by Arton Capital, it is the only real-time global ranking of the world’s passports, updated as frequently as new visa waivers and changes are implemented. Since its inception, Passport Index has become the leading global mobility intelligence platform, celebrated across the world.

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.

Read Today's News TODAY... on our Telegram Channel click here to join and receive all the latest updates