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Four EU countries top world’s most powerful passports in 2024

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A man scanning a French passport at the airport
France tops the 2024 list of most powerful passports in the world granting visa-free access to 194 destinations

An unprecedented six countries share the top spot with visa-free access to a record-breaking number of destinations on the 2024 Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive and official data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Four EU member states — France, Germany, Italy, and Spain — join Japan and Singapore in boasting the most powerful passports in the world, with their citizens able to visit an astonishing 194 destinations out of 227 around the globe visa-free. The two Asian nations have dominated first place on the index (which ranks all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa) for the past five years.

“The average number of destinations travelers are able to access visa-free has nearly doubled from 58 in 2006 to 111 in 2024. However the top-ranked countries are now able to travel to a staggering 166 more destinations visa-free than Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the ranking with access to just 28 countries without a visa,” says Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners.

Asian tiger South Korea joins Finland and Sweden in second place with visa-free travel to 193 destinations, and another four EU nations — Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and Netherlands — share a third place with access to 192. The rest of the Top 10 is largely dominated by European countries, with the UK climbing up two ranks to fourth place with visa-free access to 191 destinations compared to just 188 a year ago. Australia and New Zealand passport holders both improve their ranking to sit in 6th place with 189 visa-free destinations, while the US retains its 7th place with access to 188 destinations without requiring a visa in advance. It has been a decade since the UK and the US jointly held 1st place on the index in 2014.

The UAE remains the biggest climber on the Henley Passport Index over the past decade, adding an impressive 106 destinations to its visa-free score since 2014, resulting in a massive leap of 44 places in the ranking from 55th to 11th position.

Ukraine and China are also among the Top 5 countries with the most improved rankings over the past 10 years (a net total gain of 21 places each), and both have climbed a further two ranks in the past year.

10 most powerful passports for 2024, and how many countries they each grant visa-free access to:

  1. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain
    194 destinations
  2. Finland, South Korea, and Sweden
    193 destinations
  3. Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands
    192 destinations
  4. Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, and the UK
    191 destinations
  5. Greece, Malta, and Switzerland
    190 destinations
  6. Australia, Czech Republic, New Zealand, and Poland
    189 destinations
  7. Canada, Hungary, and the US
    188 destinations
  8. Estonia and Lithuania
    187 destinations
  9. Latvia, Slovakia, and Slovenia
    186 destinations
  10. Iceland
    185 destinations

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Travel

Fred Olsen wins leisure website of the year at the Growth Awards

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Fred Olsen wins leisure website of the year at the Growth Awards
The UK Digital Growth Awards recognise work that is transforming business and revolutionising customer experience

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has been unveiled as the winner of the Travel and Leisure Website of the Year at the UK Digital Growth Awards 2024. The ceremony was held in central London on June 20th, following judging by a panel of experts from across the digital sector.

The UK Digital Growth Awards recognise work that is transforming business, revolutionising customer experience and adding real value. The prize comes after Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines launched its new-look website last year, with extensive work undertaken to streamline the booking process and more opportunities for guests to personalise their cruise experience.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have won the title of Travel and Leisure Website of the Year. It is recognition of our whole team’s effort and dedication to improving the experience of our guests when visiting our website,” says Ben Williams, Head of Digital at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

The judges noted ‘the outcomes achieved by this website were clearly conveyed and impressive, showcasing a direct correlation with the results’ and ‘their end-to-end web redesign project yielded remarkable results’.

They also praised the website’s ‘meticulous audience segmentation and content alignment, effectively attracting and engaging it’s intended visitors’.

The accolade is the second win for the digital project having picked up the Travel Website of the Year title at the UK Dev Awards in February.

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Discover Airlines wins German Brand Award 2024

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Discover Airlines wins German Brand Award 2024
The airline, which was previously known under the Eurowings Discover brand, presented its new brand identity to the public on 5 September 2023

The Discover Airlines brand was not even a year old when the leisure airline was presented with the German Brand Award in the main category “Excellence in Brand Strategy & Creation” twice at a festive ceremony in Berlin this Thursday. In the category “B2C Brand Strategy” and in the category “Brand Strategy of the Year”, the rebranding strategy developed with Scholz & Friends impressed the judges. The German Brand Award honors strong and successful brand management in Germany once a year. In the case of Discover Airlines, the focus is on brand strategy, concept and campaign.

“The awards are a highlight for our entire team. We are proud that in less than a year we have succeeded in establishing Discover Airlines as a strong, likeable leisure brand on the market and to charge it with the attributes of quality, joy and ease. People fly with us to the best time of the year, and this should also be reflected in our brand identity. The awards are a wonderful recognition for us and an incentive to continue on our path with the same passion and enthusiasm for strong brands,’ says Maximilian Meintgens, Director Product & Marketing.

The leisure airline, which was previously known under the Eurowings Discover brand, presented its new brand identity to the public on 5 September 2023. The Discover Airlines design is inspired by colors and elements that awaken memories of holidays as well as the desire to travel. The gradient of colors evokes the view from the aircraft window looking toward the horizon or the view of the sea. The blue color scheme also stands for quality and the connection to the Lufthansa Group.

The German Brand Award is an award for successful brand management in Germany. It is initiated by the German Design Council and organized by the German Brand Institute. Every year, a panel of experts from brand management and brand science honors outstanding brand strategies and creative brand management. The award not only promotes the winners, but also their respective industries and enjoys great international resonance.

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Holiday costs rise with every degree of heat

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A family on holiday in a sunny beach
New Research reveals families could be spending up to £972 per degree of heat when booking their summer holidays | Photo: Natalya Zaritskaya

The price of a family holiday increases by up to £96 for every additional degree of heat in Spain, a study has found. Researchers have calculated how much the price of different holiday destinations rise as the weather warms up in peak season to help families keep costs down.

Looking at the cost of flights from London and accommodation in Benidorm, Spain, for two adults and two teenagers, a week-long trip for four in May when the temperature is 22 degrees will set you back £803 per family for seven days. But this rises to £1,570 in August when the mercury hits 30 degrees – £96 for each extra degree.

Families who opt to travel to their favourite destination outside of peak weather window could be saving an average of £231 for each degree lower in temperature to spend on other aspects of the trip, such as activities with the kids, meals out or shopping.

This doesn’t mean compromising on sun. While a week-long holiday for a family of four in Florida costs £2,100 in May when the thermometer typically reads 29 degrees. But this nearly doubles to £4,043 in August when average temperatures are just two degrees higher at 31 – an additional £972 per degree.

The research was commissioned by Post Office, which also found trips to Cyprus set a family of four back £737 for a milder 24 degrees in May. This ramps up to £1,272, or £89 per degree, for a week in 30 degree heat in July.

Greece is among the more reasonable options, with a family paying around £1,793 for 28 degrees in August, but costs just £1,285 in May at 23 degrees.

It comes after research of 2,000 travellers found four in 10 who are planning a holiday this year intend to go ‘out of season’. Overall cost savings (58 per cent), fewer tourists (51 per cent) and a quieter journey to and from their destination (37 per cent) were among the reasons why. One in ten (11 per cent) have saved over £400 by travelling outside peak season.

It also emerged 42 per cent appreciate the ease of traveling outside of peak times, while 51 per cent relish in peace from a lack of tourists.

Laura Plunkett, Head of Post Office Travel which commissioned the research to mark the launch of its Travel Money Card across all 11,500 branches nationwide, said: “It’s evident from our research that holidaymakers feel warm weather is an important part of the holiday experience, and so are the memories we make while away. It can be increasingly difficult to budget for yearly holidays, especially for those travelling with children who are restricted to peak holiday prices due to the school holidays. However, there are savvy ways to save money on holiday.

“Our research has shown that families can still enjoy hot holidays at a better price point by considering October half term for travel. In fact, a holiday to Cyprus is £321 cheaper in October than August, and still a balmy 25 degrees. Families considering Florida could also save £406 in October, when it is 29 degrees – just two degrees cooler than August.”

Another popular way 77 per cent of travellers have cut back on costs is to fly mid-week, avoiding peak weekend prices.

The study also found 87 per cent of travellers prefer to spend their trips abroad in warmer climates. As many as 85 per cent have either been away already or plan to this year, with Spain (31 per cent), Italy (15 per cent), France (14 per cent) and Greece (14 per cent) among the most popular destinations.

September (18 per cent) is the month adults are more likely to vacation, although August still proves popular for 14 per cent despite being the peak of the summer break.

However, holiday costs could be limiting family travel for many as nearly half (44 per cent) of families feel priced out of travelling during school breaks, with 44 per cent wanting more affordable travel options.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, found the typical adult who travels abroad will budget around £773 for a week-long trip to a country with a typical temperature of 25 degrees.

Laura Plunkett added: “People put a lot of time and effort into making sure they get a great deal on their flights and accommodation, and booking out of season can be a smart way to maximise your holiday experience within your budget.

“However, timely booking is just one way that holidaymakers can save money. It’s important to think carefully about how to get the most out of your spending money as well, which can often be left until the last minute, leaving you exposed to poor rates or unexpected card fees. Keeping an eye on exchange rates and getting your travel money or a pre-paid card when rates are good is another way to maximise the holiday budget.”

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