Croatian Passport Holds Respectable Position on New Passport List

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the introduction of vaccination programmes against the novel coronavirus are gaining momentum in some countries, and now the continuation of regular international travel programmes is no longer merely an abstract hope, these are the expectations that go hand in hand with the latest results of the Henley Passport Index.

Their passport ranking publication provides an exclusive insight into what post-pandemic travel freedoms might look like when countries around the world selectively begin to open their borders once again to international visitors. In 2021, the Croatian passport ranks 16th, and its holders can enter 173 destinations visa-free. The Croatian travel document has otherwise gradually advanced in recent years by one or two places on this scale, and this is naturally also important for the expected period of economic recovery and development.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, president of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, says that the past year has shown that no government is infallible, even those typically considered rich and stable. 

“While no one expects a return to pre-pandemic mobility in the near future, the current outlook certainly has more hope attached to it than it did a few months ago. The latest ranking of the Henley Passport Index is a reminder that economic recovery and development depend on global mobility, including personal freedom of travel, and that the power of the passport should never, ever be taken for granted,”

In their expectations for the rest of 2021, the experts suggest that adaptability and proper responses will be crucial to the survival and success of countries and individuals. Thus, the founder and leading partner of FutureMap, Parag Khanna, believes that in the second half of the year they could see changing migration patterns in the post-coronavirus world, ie they will be “nonlinear and perhaps unpredictable”.

“They will mimic the reality of a world in which many crises are taking place, from pandemics to climate change to political polarisation. Countries facing fiscal pressures, as well as a lack of skilled labour and investment, will seek to attract and employ everyone from start-up entrepreneurs who can drive innovation to doctors and nurses who can step up public healthcare services. The global war for talent is now largely underway,” said Khanna.

Commenting on how governments can begin to take advantage of post-pandemic migration opportunities, NewCities Director of Applied Research Greg Lindsay told Henley & Partners that “destinations ranging from Helsinki to Dubai are already developing programmes and policies aimed at free talent, with the permission of their employers.” Lindsay also suggests that the popularity of mobile worker programmes means that in addition, “any global destination is at risk of being left behind when the world reopens again.”

Currently, without taking into account temporary and constantly evolving travel restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, Japan remains firmly in first place on this index, and according to exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Japanese passport holders can theoretically enter as many as 193 vdestinations worldwide without the need for a visa.

Singapore is still in 2nd place (192 destinations), while Germany and South Korea are once again sharing a joint 3rd place, each with access to 191 destinations visa-free. As has been the case for much of this index’s 16-year history, most of the remaining top 10 places are held by European Union countries. The UK and the United States, which continue to face a steadily corrosive passport strength since 2014, currently share a joint 7th place, with a score of 187.

The latest results show, they claim, that the gap in freedom of travel is now the largest since the index was established back in 2006, given that Japanese passport holders were able to access 167 more destinations visa-free than citizens of nations such as Afghanistan, who can visit only 26 destinations worldwide without obtaining some sort of visa.

Although the Henley Passport Index has moved very little since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, a step back reveals interesting dynamics witnessed over the past decade. In the second quarter of 2021, China entered the top ”climbers” in the rankings for the first time in a decade: the Chinese travel document rose by 22 places in the rankings since 2011, from 90th place with a score of only 40 to today’s 68th position with a score of 77.

The most significant turnaround in the index, however, is related to the UAE, which in 2011 was ranked 65th with a score of 67, while today, thanks to the “constant efforts of the United Arab Emirates to strengthen diplomatic ties with countries around the world, it is ranked 15th with with a result of 174, very close to the Croatian passport.”

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