Malaysia moves up 'world's most powerful passport' ranking amid pandemic

The Malaysian passport has been ranked the 13th most powerful in the world. — Filepic

The Malaysian passport has been ranked the 13th most powerful passport in the world, up one place from last year.

Malaysian passport holders currently have visa-free access to 177 countries, according to the newest edition of the Henley Passport Index.

Within South-East Asia, the Malaysian passport still retains its position as the second most powerful passport in the region, behind Singapore.

Asian countries – like in last year’s ranking – continue to top the list with Japan, Singapore and South Korea taking first, second and third place respectively.

ALSO READ: What good is the 'world's most powerful passport' if Malaysians can't go anywhere?

Henley & Partners indicates that while advancements have been made to restore international mobility levels to pre-pandemic levels, progress has been slow.

“Although some progress has been made, between January and March 2021, international mobility had been restored to just 12% of pre-pandemic levels in the same period in 2019, and the gulf between theoretical and actual travel access offered by even high-ranking passports remains significant, ” the company said in a statement.

The latest index came as the world continues to grapple with the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research and analysis revealed that while advancements have been made to restore international mobility levels to pre-pandemic levels, progress has been slow.

Travel, according to Henley & Partners, is primarily limited to business or emergency purposes.

The Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations holders could access without a prior visa.

The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

ALSO READ: Why more Malaysians should visit Perlis and mainland Kedah

Book hotels with cryptocurrency

For many people globally, chances are they still won’t be able to travel amid the pandemic despite having a valid passport. They can, however, look forward to the emergence of cryptocurrency in the travel landscape.

An international hotel group has become the first in the world to accept cryptocurrency from any country for hotel bookings.

The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts has partnered with global crypto-payment gateway, Coindirect. The partnership would enable guests to pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum and 40 other virtual currencies.

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services.

The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts founder Gordon Oldham said this new initiative would offer payment flexibility to its guests.

Coindirect co-founder Jesse Hemson-Struthers assured that the end-to-end payment service is “safe, flexible and easy for guests”.

“Guests can take advantage of paying in the cryptocurrency of their choice, based on the currency and location they are situated in at the time of booking, offering more freedom and a contemporary, personalised service,” he said.

It’s worth noting that financial experts still have mixed thoughts on cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, Singapore once again warned the public about the risks of trading cryptocurrencies.

In Malaysia, regulators have held the view that digital assets are not legal tender and have warned investors to be cautious when dealing with cryptocurrencies.

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