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Switzerland remains the best country in the world » Canada has moved up to the second spot » U.S. News 2020 Best Countries rankings

For Switzerland, the 2020 ranking is the the fourth consecutive yearhas been judged No. 1 by residents of 36 countries. Canada was chosen second, overtaking Japan in the U.S. News’ fifth annual survey.

The Best Countries report, produced from an annual global survey of more than 20,000 people in 36 countries including the United States, reflects increasingly negative views of the world and within countries. Nearly half of survey respondents say conditions around the world have worsened in the past year. Likewise, an increased percentage of people say the gap between the rich and poor has grown and that nationalism is increasing.

According to the ranking, here are the Top 25 Countries in the World

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Japan
  4. Germany
  5. Australia
  6. United Kingdom
  7. United States
  8. Sweden
  9. Netherlands
  10. Norway
  11. New Zealand
  12. France
  13. Denmark
  14. Finland
  15. China
  16. Singapore
  17. Italy
  18. Austria
  19. Spain
  20. South Korea
  21. Luxembourg
  22. United Arab Emirates
  23. Russia
  24. Portugal
  25. India

The Bottom 5 of the U.S. News 2020 Best Countries rankings are

  • Lebanon
  • Serbia
  • Oman
  • Belarus
  • Tunisia

See the full report.

 

 

Japan and Singapore top 2019 list of world’s most powerful passports

Euan McKirdy and Maureen O’Hare at CNN write »

Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world’s most travel-friendly passports.

That’s the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan’s passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan‘s formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

Read more of this article at CNN »

The best passports in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)
2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)
4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)
7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)
8. New Zealand (182)
9. Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia (181)
10. Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia (180)
More at the Henley Passport Index

Notes

» Canada has been ranked 6th four years in a row. They were ranked 2nd in 2014, then dropped to 4th in 2015, and have been holding steady in 6th since 2016.

» The USA been on a steady decline since 2014 when they were ranked 1st. They dropped to 2nd in 2015, 4th in 2016, 5th in 2017 and 2018, and to 6th this year.

» The UK has been on a steady decline in the rankings, dropping from 1st in 2015, to 3rd in 2016, to 4th in 2017, to 5th in 2018, to 6th this year.

World’s Most Powerful Passports as of Q3 2019

The Henley Passport Index has released its third quarter ranking of the world’s most powerful passports in 2019.

The index is compiled from data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and measures global mobility based on visa-free access to destinations. It also uses data from the index’s 14-year history, “to show how travel mobility has changed over the past decade, looking at which passports have gained in strength and which have fallen behind.”

Japan and Singapore hold the world’s strongest passports, with Visa-free access to 189 destinations. South Korea dropped to second place, joining Germany and Finland with Visa-free access to 187 destinations.

The United Arab Emirates entered the top 20 index for the first time in the list’s 14-year-history, moving up an astonishing 41 spots. Other countries that climbed standings include Taiwan, which climbed 24 places over the past ten years and ranks 30th.

The USA and the UK each dropped to the lowest position they’ve held since 2010, sharing the sixth spot with Canada, Greece, Norway, Belgium and Ireland.

Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the USA or the UK.

Afghanistan is once again at the other end of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Most Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:
1. Japan, Singapore (189 Destinations)
2. South Korea, Germany, Finland (187)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186)
4. France, Sweden, Spain (185)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184)
6. Canada, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, UK, US (183)
7. Malta (182)
8. Czechia (181)
9. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Lithuania (180)
10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

The Least Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39 Destinations)
102. Nepal (38)
103. Libya, Palestinian, Sudan (37)
104. Yemen (33)
105. Somalia (31)
106. Pakistan (30)
107. Syria (29)
108. Iraq (27)
109. Afghanistan (25)

Source: Henley Passport Index

Best Countries for Quality of Life

Through all phases of life, Canada and Scandinavian countries treat their citizens well, according to US News.

  1. Canada
  2. Sweden
  3. Denmark
  4. Norway
  5. Switzerland
  6. Finland
  7. Australia
  8. Netherlands
  9. New Zealand
  10. Germany
  11. Belgium
  12. United Kingdom
  13. Japan
  14. Luxemburg
  15. Ireland
  16. France
  17. USA
  18. Singapore
  19. Portugal
  20. China
  21. Spain
  22. Italy
  23. South Korea
  24. Poland
  25. Czech Republic

More info at US News

Reference: Living 2.0

Most Expensive Countries To Live In 2019

According to CEOWORLD Magazine:

1.🇨🇭 Switzerland
2.🇮🇸 Iceland
3.🇳🇴 Norway
4.🇧🇸 Bahamas
5.🇱🇺 Luxembourg
6.🇯🇵 Japan
7.🇩🇰 Denmark
8.🇭🇰 Hong Kong
9.🇰🇷 South Korea
10.🇮🇪 Ireland
11.🇫🇷 France
12.🇳🇱 Netherlands
13.🇮🇱 Israel
14.🇧🇪 Belgium
15.🇫🇮 Finland

More interesting world ranking stats here.

The Turtle Expedition – South Korea

South Korea! What everyone knows about South Korea (or correctly called The Republic of Korea) is its caustic neighbor, North Korea. As it turns out, South Korea is a modern and well developed country ranked 22nd in the Human Development Index, the highest in East Asia. In terms of average wage, it has Asia’s highest and the world’s 10th highest income. It is the world’s most research-and-development intensive country and the most innovative as measured by the Bloomberg Innovation Quotient. South Korea is the world’s fifth largest exporter, driven by high-tech multinationals such as Samsung, Hyundai-Kia and LG. A highly advanced information society, South Korea has the world’s fastest Internet connection speed! What’s not to like about that?

Read more of Gary and Monica Wescott’s overland adventures through South Korea in November and December 2014:

South Korea #1 – Arrival in Donghae – Samcheok Beach

South Korea #2 – DMZ – UN Memorial Cemetery

South Korea #3 – Hwaseon Cave & Penis Park

South Korea #4 – Hahoe Folk Village

South Korea #5 – Mr. Kim Jong-heung, the famous Wood Carver from Hahoe

South Korea #6 – Hahoe – The Mask Dance Drama

South Korea #7 – Sparking Public Restrooms

South Korea #8 – Andong – Bows & Swords

South Korea #9 – Food

South Korea #10 – Markets

South Korea #11 – The End of a Great Adventure, Almost

The Worlds Most Powerful Passports, as of January 2019

  1. Japan (190 countries can be visited without a visa)
  2. Singapore, South Korea (189)
  3. Germany, France (188)
  4. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden (187)
  5. Luxembourg, Spain (186)
  6. Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, U.K., U.S. (185)
  7. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland (184)
  8. Czech Republic (183)
  9. Malta (182)
  10. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand (181)

London-based consulting firm Henley & Partners, using data from the International Air Transport Association, compiles this index of passports that allow visa-free travel.

In the past, this was an annual list, released every January. The list is now being updated every few months.

Since January 2018, Germany has been knocked out of top spot, while both the U,K. and U.S. passports have dropped one place in the rankings.

More at Lonely PlanetTraveller,  CNN

China will be the world’s top tourist destination by 2030

Chinese authorities have recognized that tourism is a key pillar of their economy, and they continue to invest heavily to improve infrastructure and standards, in addition to opening up the country with increasingly tourism-friendly policies and initiatives.

At the World Travel Market in London, Euromonitor International’s Head of Travel Caroline Bremner said: “Destinations like China are poised for a successful performance in inbound tourism, with China set to overtake France as the leading destination worldwide by 2030.”

The report estimates there will be 127 million arrivals in China each year by the end of the next decade, compared to 126 million in France and 116 million in the US.

And as household incomes and standards of living continue to rise, more Chinese are predicted to be travelling overseas in the coming decade than any other nationality.

Read more at World Economic Forum

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