Namibia is losing passport power

Namibian passport holders are now able to travel to 78 destinations without a visa.

09 July 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Henley and Partners has just published its latest passport index, outlining the countries that Namibians can travel to without visas right now and how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected international travel.

The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.

The data shows that while some progress was made in resuming international travel between January and March this year, international mobility was restored to just 12% of pre-pandemic levels.

The index shows that Namibia has lost seven places in the rankings, moving down to 72nd position since last year.

Namibian passport holders are now able to travel to 78 destinations without a visa.

It is also noted that while the number of visa-free countries has largely remained around the 100 mark, other passports have continued to grow their rankings by offering more visa-free options. This has led to Namibia slipping down the rankings.

Like other countries, Namibia also faces ongoing travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

Japan in the lead

Without taking temporary restrictions into account, Japan retained its hold on the number one spot on the index with passport holders able to access 193 destinations around the world visa-free.

Singapore remined in second place and South Korea shared third place with Germany.

The data showed that the gap between the top and bottom countries on the index continued to widen.

“The gap in travel freedom is now at its largest since the index began in 2006, with Japanese passport holders able to access 167 more destinations than citizens of Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the index. Its passport holders are able to visit only 26 destinations worldwide without acquiring a visa in advance,” according to the report.

More lean years

Meanwhile, a report published this week by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) said it is unlikely that tourism will rebound by 2023.

Half of the experts interviewed estimated that the tourism sector would only return to 2019 levels in 2024 or later.

It said around the world the number of inbound tourists decreased by 74% from 2019 to 2020.

According to the report, the crash in international tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic could cause a loss of more than $4 trillion to the global GDP for the years 2020 and 2021.

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