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Passion and Purpose

Category: Europe (page 1 of 4)

42 Landlocked Countries

Landlocked countries shown in Green. Double landlocked are shown in Purple

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Canada and Scandinavian countries top the 2019 Quality of Life Rankings

The BAV Group, a unit of communications company VMLY&R, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, surveyed 20,300 citizens from 36 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa were asked to score 80 countries on 75 different attributes.

The attributes were grouped under different categories: adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power and quality of life.

The Quality of Life ranking is based on an equally weighted average of scores from nine attributes: affordable, a good job market, economically stable, family friendly, income equality, politically stable, safe, well-developed public education system and well-developed public health system.

2019 Quality of Life Rankings

  1. Canada (no change from 2018)
  2. Sweden (#3 in 2018)
  3. Denmark (#2 in 2018)
  4. Norway (no change from 2018)
  5. Switzerland (#6 in 2018)
  6. Finland (#7 in 2018)
  7. Australia (#5 in 2018)
  8. Netherlands (no change from 2018)
  9. New Zealand (no change in 2018)
  10. Germany (no change in 2018)

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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

Canadians can stay in the Schengen Area beyond the 90-day limit

Did you know that under certain conditions Canadians and nationals from other countries can stay in Denmark and other Nordic countries beyond the 90-day Schengen Area limit?

More info added to the resources section.

Life along Norway’s Route E69

E69 is the world’s northernmost highway and one of Norway’s marvels of engineering.

From the BBC:

Running 129km north from Olderfjord to Nordkapp on a finger of land at the top of Arctic Norway, the E69 is the world’s most northerly highway, a marvel of engineering along the coast of Western Europe’s northernmost peninsula. First proposed as early as 1908 by Landslaget for Reiselivet i Norge (the country’s fledgling national tourist association), yet only completed in 1999, the road is a brilliant contradiction, connecting a handful of remote and fragile fishing communities that have long proven they are capable of living without the outside world. For many, wooden boats continue to satisfy their needs.

To drive the road today is to glimpse Norway’s wilderness at its rawest. Obsidian-black bluffs rise up over narrow sea inlets; mountains lurch into the windshield before giving way to vast plateaus pockmarked by dwarf birch; and violent storms frequently roll in from the intimidating Barents Sea. Come winter, the last stretch to Nordkapp and the abrupt cliffs of Knivskjellodden, Europe’s fabled northernmost point, becomes nearly impassable, only open for convoy driving. Without the highway, it’s easy for a first-time visitor to think that the villages along the route would be on the verge of disappearing.

The creation of the E69 came about in the 1930s to counter a downturn in the fishing industry, which brooded on the horizon after Nordkapp fishermen lost control of exclusive concession rights. New sources of income for the fishermen had to be found and a mass meeting was held in 1934 in Honningsvåg, Nordkapp’s most populous village, with harbour bosses demanding the municipal council prioritise a national highway to solve the problem.

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A dream running trip in Norway

Katie Adams, Emelie Forsberg, and Ida Nilsson on a dream running trip in Norway.

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

San Marino: the least visited country in Europe

Hovering on a cliff encircled by Italy, the tiny landlocked country of San Marino holds the title of the least visited country in Europe, just a dot on the map of only 23.6 square miles. Here’s why travelers of all types should visit the under the radar microstate.

  • History
  • Epic Landscapes
  • Food
  • Tax Free Shopping
  • Easy Access

Read the whole article at National Geographic.

The funny side of the German language

These passports offer the most travel freedom

The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without first obtaining a visa.

Henley & Partners released this press release today:

Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, having gained visa-free access to Myanmar this month. Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, compared to Singapore’s total of 189. The countries have been neck and neck since they both climbed to 1st place in February, pushing Germany down to 2nd place for the first time since 2014.

Germany has now fallen further to 3rd place, which it shares with South Korea and France. Their nationals enjoy visa-free access to 188 countries. France moved up a place last Friday when it gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan. Iraq and Afghanistan continues to sit at the bottom (106th) of the Henley Passport Index — based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association(IATA).

The US and the UK, both with 186 destinations, have slid down yet another spot — from 4th to 5th place — with neither having gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018. With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers, it seems unlikely they will regain the number 1 spot they jointly held in 2015 any time soon.

In general, the UAE has made the most remarkable ascent on the Henley Passport Index, from 62nd place in 2006 to 21st place worldwide currently, and looking ahead, the most dramatic climb might come from Kosovo, which officially met all the criteria for visa-liberalization with the EU in July and is now in discussions with the European Council.

Russia received a boost in September when Taiwan announced a visa-waiver, but the country has nonetheless fallen from 46th to 47th place due to movements higher up the ranking. The same is true of China: Chinese nationals obtained access to two new jurisdictions (St. Lucia and Myanmar), but the Chinese passport fell two places, to 71st overall.

Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs all fall within the top 50 of the Henley Passport Index. Newcomer Moldova, which is due to launch its CBI program in November, has climbed 20 places since 2008. “The travel freedom that comes with a second passport is significant, while the economic and societal value that CBI programs generate for host countries can be transformative,” says Dr. Kälin.

The top countries are:

1. Japan (190 countries)

2. Singapore (189 countries)

3. Germany (188 countries)

4. (Tied) France, South Korea, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain (187 countries)

5. (Tied) Norway, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, USA (186 countries)

6. (Tied) Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland (185 countries)

7. (Tied) Australia, Greece, Malta (183 countries)

8. (Tied) New Zealand, Czech Republic (182 countries)

9. Iceland (181 countries)

10. (Tied) Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia (180 countries)

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