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NOTES FOR A VOYAGER

Category: Ireland 🇮🇪

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

Road Trip Through the Burren Region of Western Ireland

The short 55-mile road trip takes you through Ennistymon, Lahinch, Doolin, Lisdoonvarna, Kilfenora, Carran, Bell Harbour, Flaggy Shore, Ballyvaughan, Plan on at least three days to explore the sights and smell the wildflowers.

Serena Renner, writing for National Geographic Traveler:

The 205-square-mile UNESCO Global Geopark is one of the only places in the world where arctic, alpine, and Mediterranean plants grow side by side. The name “Burren” derives from the Irish Gaelic for “stony place,” and the dramatic rocky setting has captivated creatives from Tolkien to Spielberg.

It’ll take hold of you too, especially if you follow this route in the spring, when wildflowers paint the hillsides in hues of pink, yellow, and blue. The narrow roads are more fit for cows than cars, so drive slowly and practice the traditional one-finger salute—index finger, that is—with oncoming locals.

The 55-mile route takes three days if driving at a leisurely pace—and stopping to smell the wildflowers.

Read More…

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 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

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)

New Michelin star restaurants in the UK and Ireland

The Michelin Guide has announced the new winners for 2019. 21 new restaurants in Great Britain and Ireland received their first Michelin star and three more received a second. None reached a third.

The first ever Michelin Guide was produced for French motorists 118 years ago, in 1900. One star meant a restaurant was good and worthy of a stop; two that it mérite un détour (justified a detour); and three that it was so exceptional that it warranted a special journey.

Restaurants to received two Michelin stars:

1. Clare Smyth’s Core in Notting Hill, London
2. James Knappett’s Bubbledogs Kitchen Table in Fitzrovia, London
3. Mark Birchall’s Moor Hall in Lancashire

Restaurants to receive their first Michelin star:

1. Tomos Parry’s Brat in Hackney, London
2. Jeremy Chan’s Ikoyi in Westminster, London
3. Nieves Barragán Mohacho and José Etura’s Sabor in Westminster, London
4. Ollie Dabbous’ Hide in Mayfair, London
5. Sam Kamienko, Ed Thaw and Jack Lewens’ Leroy in Hackney, London
6. Simon Rogan’s Roganic in Westminster, London
7. Simon Rogan’s Rogan & Co, Cartmel, Cumbria
8. Chris Simpson’s Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon
9. Steve Drake’s Sorrel, Dorking, Surrey
10. Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon, Dunmow, Essex
11. Chris Cleghorn’s Olive Tree, Bath, Somerset
12. Colin McGurran’s Winteringham Fields, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire
13. Paul Foster’s Salt, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
14. Paul Welburn’s Oxford Kitchen, Oxford, Oxfordshire
15. Daniel Smith’s Fordwich Arms, Canterbury, Kent
16. Tom Parker’s White Swan, Fence, Lancashire
17. Dom Robinson’s Blackbird, Bagnor Berkshire
18. George Livesey’s Bulrush, Bristol
19. Ahmet Dede’s Mews, Baltimore, County Cork
20. Takashi Miyazaki’s Ichigo Ichie, Cork
21. Rob Krawczyk’s Chestnut, Ballydehob, County Cork

There are now a total of 155 one-Michelin-star establishments, 20 two-star and five three-star in the UK and Ireland.

If chasing the most remote Michelin star restaurant is what you are after, then check out Koks, the worlds most remote foodie destination. (The New Yorker)

The Michelin Guide

More at Conde Nast Traveller

The 13 most peaceful countries in the world – in honor of International Peace Day

According to the 2018 Global Peace Index:

  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Austria
  4. Portugal
  5. Denmark
  6. Canada
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Singapore
  9. Japan
  10. Ireland
  11. Slovenia
  12. Switzerland
  13. Australia

The Global Peace Index is developed by the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human wellbeing and progress.

IEP is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in New York, The Hague, Mexico City, and Brussels. It works with a wide range of partners internationally and collaborates with intergovernmental organisations on measuring and communicating the economic value of peace.

The chart is also available here.

The Economist ranks the world’s most livable cities

Each year, the Economist Intelligence Unit release its annual Global Livability Index which measuring the most livable large cities in the world. In this year’s report, Vienna, Austria has succeeded in displacing Melbourne, Australia from the stop spot, which it previously held for a record seven consecutive years.

The Economist says:

The concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide. Each city is assigned a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories of Stability, Healthcare, Culture and environment, Education and Infrastructure.

The 20 top rankings are populated with cities in Europe (9), Australia (4), Japan (2), New Zealand (1), and Canada (4).

Honolulu was the highest U.S. city at number 23. The next highest American city was Pittsburgh in 32nd position. Manchester was the highest ranked in the UK at number 35.

Here are the top 50:

1. Vienna, Austria

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Osaka, Japan

4. Calgary, Canada

5. Sydney, Australia

6.  Vancouver, Canada

7. (Tied) Tokyo, Japan

7. (Tied) Toronto, Canada

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Adelaide, Australia

Continue reading

First luxury world cruise to stop at all seven continents — including Antarctica

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Amsterdam, the long way around.

Is this the ultimate glam trip? This doesn’t meet my personal definition of adventure, but we all have different comfort levels.

Prices for the 140-day globetrotting trip, scheduled for 2020, on the 382-passenger luxury cruise ship range from £49,000 (US$69,000.) for a basic cabin to £180,000 (US$253,000.) for a stay in the luxurious ‘owner’s suite’. Per passenger.

Daily Mail:

The Silver Whisper ship will set sail on January 6, 2020, from Fort Lauderdale in Florida before heading on to Argentina.

From there, the cruise liner will dip down to the Antarctic Peninsula, so passengers can spend a morning soaking in the other-worldly landscape.

A stop at the world’s coldest continent is currently scheduled for February 5, 2020.

Continuing on its journey, the boat will head on to Chile, Tahiti, Singapore, Mumbai, Rome and Dublin before finally docking in Amsterdam on May 25.

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