Thailand’s passport power improves but lags behind most countries including Timor-Leste

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With travel opening up and request for visa now taking weeks if not months, the need to have powerful passport has become a necessity, but Thailand’s passport power has continued to remain weak compared to others in the region.

The latest announcement by the much watched ‘Passport Index’ was revealed last week, and Thailand’s passport, despite its rising power over the past few years continues to languish well below the likes of the newly formed Asian nation of ‘Timor- Leste.

Thailand’s passport ranked at 53rd place while the small nation of Timor-Leste ranked on 46th in the world where the median ranking stood at 45.

Thailand’s passport on the other hand stood at 53rd.

The Passport Index is one of several indices used to measure visa-free travel before departure to countries around the world, compiled from the passports of 193 United Nations (UN) member states and six territories across the globe.

According to the Passport Index, passports of the world are sorted by their total Mobility Score (MS), which includes visa-free and visa-on-arrival privileges, and the higher the MS score, the better global mobility its passport bearer enjoys.

The latest results from the Passport Index as of July 22, 2022, show that the United Arab Emirates passport is the world’s “most powerful” passport for two years running with 116 visa-free, 55 visa-on-arrival, and 27 visa required.

Global Passport Ranking 2022

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Thai Passport Ranking

Thailand this year, though climbing 8 places from last year, it is still ranked 53rd place from the ranking in 2021 at 60, currently able to travel to only 37 countries visa-free, 50 visa-on-arrival, and citizens of Thailand require visa to travel to as many as 111 countries.

When examining an interesting ranking of Asian countries,

  • Korea is the highest ranked Asian country at 3rd place, along with some of the world’s major countries such as Sweden, New Zealand, and Switzerland, with access to 168 countries, and 117 countries being visa-free.
  • While its neighboring country Japan is ranked 7th together with Iceland and other Scandinavian countries with access to 167 countries, and 118 countries being visa-free.
  • Singapore ranked at 9th place while Malaysia is ranked at 15th place, although the 3 countries (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) are next to each other, the rankings for passport power are 44 and 38 places apart, respectively.
Thailand’s Passport Ranking 2022

However, when looking at the data of many of Thailand’s economic competitors, Indonesia came in at 58th, the Philippines at 65th, and Vietnam at 73rd place. Even though in terms of rankings on the list, Thailand seems to be ranked higher than the above countries, the data from last year illustrate a clear enough picture that the rankings of each of those countries have improved quite considerably with Indonesia being up from 63rd to 58th place, the Philippines from 74th to 65th place, and Vietnam from 79th to 73rd place, which is an important step in having a firm foothold on the world stage.

From this data, it could be seen that many countries of Asia have a significant competitive edge over the world’s major countries showing the growing importance of Asian countries to the international community.

When compared these rankings of the most influential economies to Thailand’s, Thailand ranks shockingly lower than the major Asian countries mentioned above. And in the part of competitor countries, although they are still in the lower rankings, they should not be underestimated as their potential is increasing every year and may eventually reach the level of Thailand in the end.

What Happened with the Thai Passport?

According to VisaGuide.World, usually, visa-free regimes are applied only for tourist or business purposes and allow short stays between 30 to 90 days, but visitors still need a valid travel document. Countries may have a visa-free agreement with one another because of the following reasons:

• Good diplomatic relationship.

• Nationals of the beneficial country are unlikely to illegally overstay in the visa-free country.

• The beneficial country is economically developed.

One or more of these reasons might very well be able to answer why the Thai passport is still weak in power as the record showed lots of Thais break the rules by evading visas in order to find work and live in that country permanently, South Korea being a good example, while also showed that the current economic situation in Thailand still has no signs of improving.

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