By Alicia Buller
Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital and creator of the Global Passport Power Ranking tool, praised the rise of the UAE passport to number one in the world this week
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman would benefit from raising their global passport rankings, said the founder of the world’s top passport index.
Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital and creator of the Global Passport Power Ranking tool, praised the rise of the neighbouring UAE passport to number one in the world this week, but said other Gulf states still have work to do.
Arton old Arabian Business: “Although everything is possible, it’s unlikely that the [other] Gulf states will hit the top spots in the near future. However, if they were to climb up the ranks it would be very beneficial.
"The UAE has shown that with conscious and diligent effort it’s possible to increase the power of national passports. The country has skilfully negotiated multiple unilateral or bilateral agreements allowing access to the UAE and vice-versa.
"It is simply a matter of making the decision to increase the power of the passport, coming up with a strategy and executing that strategy with great diplomacy. It’s like negotiating trade deals… you first need to have the desire and then you execute it.
"Nations that aim to increase the power of their passports, and thereby increase the mobility of their citizens, should start by setting a goal and evaluating their ability to undertake a positive diplomatic approach."
Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia currently rank at 44, 50, 52 and 54 respectively on the Global Passport Power Ranking.
Arton said: “Since the launch of the Passport Index in 2014, countries have realised that improving their passport power has had a very beneficial effect on their citizens. A more powerful passport not only empowers citizens to travel the world but it also offers them a better experience when doing so.”
He added: “Time wasted for visa applications, queues at border crossings become a thing of the past so people can enjoy their trips. With increased mobility comes a greater respect that citizens can enjoy when in transit.”
The Global Passport Power Ranking by Arton Capital, which is based on freedom of movement and visa-free travel to passport holders, represents a steep rise for the UAE which ranked 27th in the index just two years ago.
According to the interactive real-time ranking platform, the UAE passport now holds a visa-free score of 167, giving Emirati citizens access to over 84 percent of the world.
“This achievement is a true reflection of the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE. It also underscores what can be achieved through positive diplomacy, reflecting the UAE as a confident and engaged force at the global stage,” said H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The ministry launched the UAE Passport Force initiative to place the document on the list of the five most powerful passports in the world by 2021, but achieved the goal three years early.For all the latest GCC news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.