With Bangladeshi passports, travellers now have visa-free access to 41 countries
Bangladesh has slipped three notches in the global passport power index, becoming the 10th weakest among 110 countries.
According to the Henley Passport Index: Q1 2021 Global Ranking, Bangladeshi passport has been named the 101th powerful passport in the world out of total 110 countries, meaning its weakness.
For the last 10 years, the ranking of Bangladesh on this index has constantly been falling.
The index is prepared considering the total number of countries that passport holders of any particular country can access easily without a prior visa.
Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm, revealed the Q1 2021 global ranking on Tuesday. They prepared this ranking based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
With Bangladeshi passports, travellers now have visa-free access to 41 countries although the future of travel freedom in a world that has been transformed by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic remains heavily uncertain.
In the index, Bangladesh was preceded by Sri Lanka (100th), Bhutan (90th), India (85th), and the Maldives (62nd).
Among South Asians nations, people of the Maldives can visit 85 countries without a prior visa. For India this number is 58. Bhutan has access to 53 countries and Sri Lanka 42.
The index includes 199 different passports and 227 travel destinations.
Both Nepal and Pakistan ranked below Bangladesh with the positions 104th and 107th, with visa-free access to 38 and 32 countries, respectively.
Afghanistan has once again been labelled by the index as having the least powerful passport in the world with visa-free access to just 26 countries.
Without taking temporary restrictions into account, Japan sits in the top position on the index, with its passport holders having visa-free access to 191 destinations around the world. For the third consecutive year, Japan has held the top spot, either alone or jointly with Singapore.
Asia Pacific (APAC) region countries' dominance in the index now seems firmly established as Singapore secures the 2nd position with visa-free access to 190 destinations, and South Korea holds the 3rd place alongside Germany, both having visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 189.
Slightly further down but still in the top 10, New Zealand is in 7th position, with visa-free access to 185 destinations, while Australia is in 8th position, with access to 184 destinations.
With the US and the UK still facing significant challenges related to the virus, and the passport strength of both countries continuing, the balance of power is shifting.
Over the past seven years, the US passport has fallen from the number one spot to 7th place, a position it currently shares with the UK.
Due to pandemic-related travel constraints, travelers from both the UK and the US currently face major restrictions from over 105 countries, with US passport holders able to travel to fewer than 75 destinations, while UK passport holders currently have access to fewer than 70.
Dr Christian H Kaelin, creator of the index, said the latest ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary upheaval that characterised 2020.
"Just a year ago, all indications were that the rates of global mobility would continue to rise, that travel freedom would increase, and that holders of powerful passports would enjoy more access than ever before, he said, adding but the global lockdown negated these glowing projections, and as restrictions begin to lift, the results from the latest index are a reminder of what passport power really means in a world upended by the pandemic.
With the first Covid-19 vaccine approved just over a month ago, airline industry experts believe that mandatory vaccination before air travel may soon be a necessity.