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The World's Most Powerful Passport: Singapore Overtakes Japan
Singapore Claims the Title
Singapore has surpassed Japan to become the country with the most powerful passport in the world, according to the Henley Passport Index. This means that Singapore passport holders can enjoy visa-free entry to an impressive 192 destinations out of a total of 227 worldwide. In comparison, Japan, which held the top spot last year, has slipped to third place with access to only 189 visa-free destinations.
Europe's Strong Presence
In second place, Germany, Italy, and Spain all tied with their citizens able to visit 190 global destinations without a prior visa. Other countries tying with Japan for third place include Austria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden. The United Kingdom has made a significant move up the rankings, rising two places to fourth. This comes as a turnaround following a six-year decline.
Singapore on Top Again
Singapore previously claimed the top spot in 2021 with access to 194 destinations but dropped to second last year. Over the past 10 years, Singapore has steadily increased its score by 25, pushing the country up five places to regain the title. This shows Singapore's commitment to maintaining and strengthening its global mobility.
The Decline of the US Passport
On the other hand, the United States saw the smallest increase in its passport index score over the past decade, falling to eighth place. This decline has been attributed to the lack of progress in improving travel freedom for American passport holders. Greg Lindsay, an urban tech fellow, noted that the US has been overtaken by South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, highlighting the country's steady decline in the rankings.
Impact on US Soft Power
This decline in passport power has implications for the United States' soft power and global influence. It can create challenges for businesses inviting partners to meetings and tourists facing application delays. Annie Pforzheimer, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warns that this slide will contribute to a decline in US soft power.
The Value of a Strong Passport
Henley and Partners emphasize that a strong passport goes beyond just facilitating travel. It provides significant financial freedoms for international investments and business opportunities. As geopolitical volatility and regional instability increase, global connectivity and access become indispensable for wealth creation and preservation.
Hot Take: Implications for New Businesses
The recent shift in passport power, with Singapore overtaking Japan as the country with the most powerful passport, has significant implications for new businesses operating in a globalized world. Having a strong passport is no longer just about hassle-free travel; it has become a crucial factor in establishing and expanding international business ventures.
A powerful passport, like the one offered by Singapore, provides business leaders with unrestricted access to a vast network of destinations, opening doors to potential clients, partners, and investors around the world. This advantage allows new businesses to explore opportunities, build global connections, and tap into diverse markets without the hindrance of visa restrictions.
The decline of the United States in the passport rankings serves as a wake-up call for new businesses. It highlights the potential challenges they may face when inviting partners to meetings or attending global conferences. The US's diminishing passport power could lead to slower business growth for American startups, as application delays and limited travel freedoms may hinder their ability to seize international opportunities.
However, this shift also presents an opportunity for innovative startups to adapt and explore alternative strategies. Businesses based in countries with powerful passports, such as Singapore, Germany, or the United Kingdom, could strategize their global expansion efforts accordingly. By leveraging the ease of mobility, they can establish a strong presence in various markets and gain a competitive edge over their US counterparts.
In conclusion, the change in passport power has far-reaching consequences for new businesses. It underscores the importance of considering passport strength when planning international operations. Startups should assess their home country's passport power and strategize accordingly to maximize their global potential. As the world becomes more interconnected, having a powerful passport can be the differentiating factor for businesses aiming to thrive in the global marketplace.
Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/19/henley-passport-index-2023-singapore-germany-italy-spain-rank-top-.html