Soaring to great heights – Borneo Bulletin Online – Borneo Bulletin Online

Azlan Othman
Brunei Darussalam passport is the biggest gainer this year, up 94 places to 22nd across 199 passports.
According to the fourth-quarter (Q4) Passport Index report by Arton Capital, Brunei’s passport has a mobility score of 121 in the World Openness Score (WOS).
This comes hot on the heels of the strong position of the Sultanate’s passport in the 2021 third quarter report of Henleys Passport Index released on October 5, where it was ranked as the 23rd most powerful passport globally with 166 visa free destinations.
As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) opens its doors to the world for Expo 2020 Dubai, the Passport Index report revealed the UAE passport’s triumph back up to first place in addition to a 14.8-per-cent cumulative increase in the WOS.
While the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect travel and mobility worldwide, the increasing WOS is testament to many countries pushing the boundaries and taking the lead to see the world open once again. The last quarter alone measured an impressive five-per-cent increase in WOS, with an 89 average global Mobility Score (MS) across all 199 states, based on a total of visa-free or visa-on-arrival access.

2020 was the year of lost travel plans, prompting many to think that 2021 would be the year that makes up for it. Through the magnitude of global participants and spectators attending the Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE has broken the ice to reignite safe tourism and travel for the next era of mobility.
In July 2021, Bloomberg’s COVID-19 tracking data reported that the UAE was the most vaccinated country in the world, with over 73.8 per cent of its population fully vaccinated.
And remarkably, this year the UAE has not one, but two powerful passports. Providing access to 191 countries, the new yellow Expo 2020 Dubai Passport gives viewers and guests a look into a borderless world. Dubbed ‘the World’s Greatest Show’, the UAE opened its doors on October 1 and is expected to welcome 25 million people to Dubai over the next six months.
The Passport Index has become the ultimate tool in benchmarking the state of global mobility moving forward from the pandemic. Basing its mobility scores on the number of visa-free and visa-on-arrival, it also notes all COVID-related restrictions that change day-to-day. This real-time resource has become essential in allowing travellers and governments to access the most up to date information on global mobility.
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 United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and the United States (MS 142) rank in joint fifth place. Singapore (MS 141) in sixth place were the only other non-European passports in the Passport Index’s Top 10 Global Ranking Passports.
“Starting Q4 with a 14.8-per-cent increase in global mobility shows that the world is slowly opening up once again, but it is also important to note that we are still only at mobility levels that were first achieved six years ago, so the aftermath of the global shutdown is still very much in play,” said President of Arton Capital and creator of the Passport Index Armand Arton.
More than just a simple ranking tool, 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 a number of socio-political influencers means that many foreign ministries around the world are able to use the platform to analyse and compare their policies with others.
“Thinking global has become the foundation for growth and sustainability for many nations across the world and it is fascinating to witness the global shift of human mobility and migration translated into numbers with the Passport Index. This is only the start of what we can share with the world in the coming years,” said Vice President of Marketing for Arton Capital Hrant Boghossian.
Meanwhile, in the passport index by Henley & Partners for the second quarter of this year, Brunei was ranked in the top 20, where some 166 countries accept Bruneians without a visa.
And in June this year, a new passport index from Sovereign Man rated the Sultanate as having the world’s fifth most powerful passport. Brunei scored 178.8, where travellers from the Sultanate can travel to 140 countries without a visa.
The Sultanate scored ‘A’ in passport grade, an excellent travel document that provides access to the world’s most attractive countries. To receive an ‘A’ grade, a passport must have a Travel Freedom score of over 170 and provide mandatory access to the Schengen Area and the United States.


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