A new analysis has found New Zealand’s passport to be the most valuable in the world, despite COVID-19 putting an end to our travel plans.
The New Zealand passport is now the most valuable travel document in the world, according to a new global ranking.
The new ranking by the Passport Index, which comes amid general travel chaos caused by COVID-19, puts the Kiwi passport in joint first place alongside Japan, with both passports granting visa free travel or visa on arrival to 118 countries, The New Zealand Herald reports.
Australia was second on the list, tied with 11 other nations including the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea.
The Passport Index’s power ranking of 200 of the world’s passports is similar but different from the Henley Passport Index, which named Japan’s passport the world’s most powerful in its latest quarterly ranking.
New Zealanders find themselves in possession of the world’s most desirable passport at a time when the data is showing a dramatic decrease of mobility and travel.
The Passport Index described the dramatic movements in this year’s rankings as a “collapse of global mobility”, with the pandemic upsetting a half decade-long trend of annual increase of increased mobility for all passport holders.
Visa-free travel which had been increasing at an average of 4.55 per cent a year has been wiped out in a matter of months. The report on mobility during the COVID-19 crisis published to passportindex.com shows that the ability of travellers to access other countries contracted dramatically – World Openness Score (WOS) falling by 65 per cent since the end of 2019.
The Passport Index said the new data showed the “staggering reality of global mobility during a pandemic”.
Although overall passport mobility has softened, countries within an area of common movement such as the EU have kept some standing in the passport power rankings.
Belgium, Finland, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom and Switzerland all feature in the top 10 power rankings, due to reciprocal access to 26 European Union member states.
Perhaps no passport has fallen from grace so quickly as the American travel document.
The US passport which previously granted visa-free access to nearly 170 countries has fallen to 21 in the rankings, with just 80 countries not imposing restrictions on American tourists.
The country’s disastrous response to the pandemic has sped up a fall in the power rankings which was already weakening. At the end of last year, the Passport Index highlighted the Trump administration’s difficult stance on foreign diplomacy which meant that – for the past four years – “global mobility for its citizens has been largely ignored”.
Last month, the Henley Passport Index also noted the extraordinary decline in power of the US passport due to travel bans and widespread criticisms of US President Donald Trump’s virus response.
The United Arab Emirates, which has invested heavily in becoming a global travel hub and foreign diplomacy, saw its passport become the quickest climbing passport of the last decade – gaining access to 110 countries visa-free.
However, a general softening of power and decrease in international travel due to the pandemic has seen it slump to rank 16, with visa-free access to 95 countries.
POST-PANDEMIC PASSPORT INDEX
1. Japan, New Zealand
2. Belgium, France, Germany, Finland, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia
3. Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Canada
4. Malta, Portugal, Greece, Lithuania, Iceland
5. Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Liechtenstein
7. Croatia, Monaco
8. Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria
9. San Marino
This article originally appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission