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Japan has the world's most powerful passport. (Photo: Forbes.com)

Barbados has the region’s most powerful passport; Japan tops the world

Japan has the world's most powerful passport. (Photo: Forbes.com)

Whether for business or pleasure, international travel is becoming ever more popular and accessible in an increasingly interconnected global environment.

Barbados has the Caribbean’s most powerful passport with visa-free access to 160 destinations. (Photo: Business Barbados)

No country has greater access than Japan, which tops the 20120 global ranking of world’s most powerful passports, according to the Henley Passport Index.

In fact, Asian nations account for the top three positions with Singapore and South Korea placing second and third respectively. According to the index, Japan’s passport allows for visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 191 destinations around the world while Singapore’s is one fewer. South Korea ties Germany for third with a score of 189.

Japan’s passport allows for visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 191 destinations.

The top five is completed by Italy and Finland tied at fourth with 188, while Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark tied for fifth; their respective passports allowing access to 187 destinations.

The highest ranked regional nation is Barbados at 24 with visa-free or visa-on-arrival  access to 160 destinations, followed closely by St Kitts-Nevis and The Bahamas tied at 27 with a 154 score. Antigua and Barbuda is the only other Caribbean country on the list’s upper tier at number 30 with access to 150 territories.

“The latest rankings show that the countries that embrace this reality are thriving with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and the array of benefits that come with it.”

– Chairman of Henley and Partners, Dr Christian H Kaelin

The Henley Passport Index was created by Henley and Partners and is the original ranking of all the world’s passports, according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. According to its website, the ranking is “based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.”

According to Chairman of Henley and Partners, Dr Christian H Kaelin, “Asian countries’ dominance of the top spots is a clear argument for the benefits of open-door policies and the introduction of mutually beneficial trade agreements. Over the past few years, we have seen the world adapt to mobility as a permanent condition of global life.”

The Unite States and the United Kingdom tied for eight, following their joint peak at first just five years ago.

Kaelin added that “The latest rankings show that the countries that embrace this reality are thriving with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and the array of benefits that come with it.”

Other noteworthy placements for the region include: Trinidad and Tobago (31st), St Vincent and the Grenadines (32nd), St Lucia (33rd), Grenada (35th), Dominica (37th), Belize (56th), Guyana (60th), and Jamaica (61st).

Of note, the United States and Canada’s rankings continue to slide as they tied for eighth place with a score of 184, a much different story from when they jointly led the list in 2015.