Arton Capital has published its latest Passport Index – a system that ranks travel documents by the number of countries that can be visited without having to apply for a visa.
Contrary to popular perception, in an era of building walls and closing borders, the world has considerably opened up in the past decade.
Over the last 10 years, the index shows a common trend in island nations surfing slowly higher in the ranks as the fastest-growing passports, African nations swiftly escaping the lowest-ranking bottom, and many countries within the European Union remaining stagnant and comfortable at the top.
The UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy and the Netherlands have been among st the top five most powerful passports ranking for the last decade. Others including Japan and Singapore have joined the pact.
“Unfortunately, being at the very top means there is only one other way to go — down. While in 2010 the UK dominated the highest-ranking list, by 2019 it has dropped down to 5th place, sharing its new rank with Canada and New Zealand as well as five other European nations. After Brexit, the UK will either see its past glory return, or it may fall even lower,” Arton Capital said.
“One notable absence is the USA. Under Trump’s Administration, the American passport has received little to no attention. Strengthening the US passport should most certainly have qualified in Trump’s promise to ‘Make America Great Again’ — but alas, increasing the freedom of global mobility for its citizens has been largely ignored under his administration.”
After falling down the ranking at the start of the decade, South Africa has steadily climbed its way back up in recent years, rising to allow travel to 94 countries visa-free in 2018, from 90 countries at the end of 2017.
South African can currently access 103 countries without a visa (64 visa-free and 39 visa-on-arrival) as at the start of 2020.
This number could increase even further in 2020 as the Department of Home Affairs plans to implement a range of visa changes to encourage foreign investment and travel.
Below BusinessTech looked at the countries South Africans can currently visit without a visa heading into 2020.
|Antigua and Barbuda||Haiti||Paraguay|
|Benin||Israel||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Costa Rica||Lesotho||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Ecuador||Malaysia||Trinidad and Tobago|
Visa on arrival/eVisa
|Cote d’Ivoire (pre-enrollment)||Nigeria|