The latest Henley Passport Index has been published, and this 17th edition includes data-based rankings of 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations. The index, which is updated quarterly, is considered the standard reference tool for global citizens and sovereign states when assessing where a passport ranks on the global mobility spectrum. This year, Singapore and Japan tied for first place for having the most travel-friendly passports in the world heading into 2022, each having visa-free access to 192 countries. Germany and South Korea tied for second place having visa-free access to 190 countries. Per the article below from eTurboNews, "The rest of the top 10 are dominated by EU nations, with the UK and US ranked sixth, and Australia, Canada, and Eastern European countries rounding out the highest performers."

Like the global vaccine rollouts, many feel this data highlights the ongoing and increasingly larger gaps between wealthy and poor countries. As the eTurboNews report notes, the travel gains seen by citizens of upper middle- and high-income countries have “come at the expense” of lower-income nations and those deemed to be “high-risk” in terms of security and other considerations. The report also said that this “inequality” in global mobility has been exacerbated by travel barriers over the course of the pandemic, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently likening restrictions placed against mainly African nations to “travel apartheid.”

If you are reading this right now, more than likely, while you may have complained about your "pandemic experience" (mask wearing, getting the opportunity to be vaccinated, not being able to go to a restaurant, etc.), global inequality has not plagued you nearly as much as it has those from developing countries. The world is facing growing income inequality across and within countries. The COVID-19 crisis set us back nearly 10 years and wiped out years of progress in poverty reduction. 

That said, as our company engages in our annual Kick Off event to celebrate our 2021 accomplishments and align with our 2022 initiatives, I am proud that we will be contributing to Save the Children, an organization that gives children a healthy start in life, learning opportunities and protection from harm in over 100 countries. Hopefully as we all move forward in 2022, we'll continue to look for ways to engage and contribute, and we hope you will too.