Cities and Countries,Travel philosophy

HENLEY INDEX, THE RANKING OF PASSPORTS

21 Jan , 2021  

*This post have been translated with www.DeepL.com

 

For 16 years the Henley Passport Index (by Henley & Partners) has been ranking all passports worldwide according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a visa.

 

The index is updated quarterly and its content is based on data provided by IATA, the International Air Transport Authority (the world’s largest and most accurate travel information database) and is supplemented, enhanced and updated using extensive in-house research and open source online data. The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.

 

Not all passports are of equal value. While some open the doors to virtually any country in the 195 countries that make up the planet, others allow you to visit only a few dozen of them. This is the case of Japan, the country with the most powerful passport in the world, and Afghanistan, which has the most powerful passport in the world.

 

According to the index, those with a Japanese passport can enter 191 of the 195 countries recognised by the UN without any problem. As of today, the United Nations recognises 193 countries plus the Vatican State and Palestine, which are considered permanent observers of the UN even though they do not belong to it.

 

Second place goes to Singapore’s passport (190), which drops one position from last year, when it tied with Japan at the top. Meanwhile, South Korea and Germany share third place thanks to a passport that allows easy entry to a total of 189 nations around the world.

 

Then Spain (which moves up to fourth place), Italy, Finland and Luxembourg 4 give visa-free access to 188 countries.

 

THE MOST POWERFUL PASSPORTS

 

At the other end of the scale, countries such as Afghanistan only allow visa-free access to 26 countries. On the other hand, the Henley index also highlights other nations such as Iraq (28), Syria (29), Somalia and Pakistan (32), Yemen (33) and Libya (37). Meanwhile, North Korea’s passport is ranked 100th, as it opens the doors to 39 countries.

 

The Henley & Partners ranking is, to some extent, a detailed picture of freedom of travel according to citizenship and shows that not all passports are worth the same. While for some, a passport is a gateway to the world, for others it is a barrier to the freedom of travel they seek.

 

BUYING CITIZENSHIP

 

With enough money one can add citizenship (and a corresponding passport) to one’s birthright through residency and citizenship by investment programmes that allow nations to grant residency or citizenship rights to individuals in exchange for a substantial investment.

 

Citizenship by investment refers to the process by which candidates are granted full citizenship in exchange for their substantial economic contribution to the passport-issuing state.

 

Residency by investment refers to a similar process, but applicants in this case are granted temporary residency, which may extend to permanent residency or, in some cases, citizenship at a later stage.

 

For individuals, the key benefits of having an alternative passport include greater travel mobility, access to global business and educational opportunities, ease of asset diversification and enhanced security in a rapidly changing world.

 

Residency and citizenship by investment programmes currently exist in almost 100 countries around the world, including 60% of EU member states.

 

The most successful and credible countries in the residency and citizenship categories are listed below.

 

Antigua and Barbuda offers one of the most competitive citizenship programmes in the Caribbean. Options start from USD 100,000 and Antigua and Barbuda citizens have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 151 destinations, including major business and lifestyle destinations.

 

Austria has one of the strongest passports in the world providing holders with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 187 destinations worldwide, along with settlement rights in all EU member states. Options for Austrian citizenship start with a minimum contribution of 3 million euros.

 

Dominica offers an attractive citizenship programme with a real estate option. Required contributions start at USD 100.00 and citizens gain visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 141 destinations worldwide.

 

The Island of Grenada has the only Caribbean citizenship programme that offers successful applicants visa-free access to China. With options starting at USD 150,000, Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme offers a great balance between the benefits it provides and the financial contribution required.

 

Malta’s grant of citizenship for exceptional services through the Direct Investment Regulations allows for the granting of citizenship through a certificate of naturalisation to foreign persons and their families who contribute to the economic development of the country.

 

Montenegro’s Citizenship by Investment Programme offers enhanced global mobility with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 124 destinations, including Schengen Area countries in Europe, as well as Russia and the United Arab Emirates. A minimum contribution of EUR 350,000 is required.

 

St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the strongest passports among all Caribbean citizenship programmes. For a minimum donation of USD 150,000, the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 156 destinations.

 

St. Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme offers increased mobility and global opportunities by providing visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 146 destinations worldwide. For a grant of USD 100,000, applicants can acquire their passports in as little as three to four months.

 

The Turkish Citizenship by Investment Programme offers citizenship of a country with links to Asia and Europe that has access to markets in both regions. The Turkish passport provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 110 destinations worldwide. For a real estate investment of USD 250,000, passports can be acquired in six to nine months.

 

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Our trips

El Fenn, Marrakesch

6 Feb , 2020  

I have taken the liberty of transcribe the flyer “ABOUT EL FENN” the managing partner Willem Smit recently gave to me. It is the best way to show this Marrakech highlight.

 

 

 

“We call El Fenn a home from home because that is what we wanted to create from the first day we opened our doors fourteen years ago.

 

Since then we’ve added rooms, knocked down walls, hosted art festivals and film screenings, huge parties and memorable weddings but that one core value of what we’re here to do has remained. Now, more than ever, we want to retain El Fenn’s intimacy and friendliness.

 

Because our lives are increasingly time poor as the world keeps getting busier. And while we’ve seen Marrakech grow and expand over the years since we opened – donkeys and carts replaced by scooters that buzz and smartphones that ping – the medina is also immutable: ancient, atmospheric and inspiring. We want you to make the most of that while you’re here.

 

That’s why there are no TVs but instead lots of spaces to relax in. Please do make the most of them to read, sleep or sip a mint tea and listen to the muezzin’s call to prayer as the sun sets.

 

Then, once your energy levels are reset, we urge you to venture out a little further and see what you find – or finds you – in the beautiful city of Marrakech.

 

There’s a saying in Morocco that you don’t choose a house, a house chooses you. And we feel incredibly lucky that El Fenn happened to choose us. It is a place that we hold deep in our hearts and it gives us great pleasure to be able to share it with you”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see more at https://el-fenn.com/ 

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Arts,History of Africa,People

FANG

8 Jan , 2018  

Mask made by the Fang, given in 1905 to Maurice Vlaminck whom sold it to Andre Derain. It was seen also by Picasso and Matisse. This was not the first African sculpture to attract Valminck, but it appears to be the only one from this time wich is still certainly identificable.

 

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Arts,Decor and Architecture,Fashion and Lifestyle,History of Africa,People

JUJU HATS

30 Aug , 2017  

Jujus are a fetish piece of art for most interior designers around the globe and one of the best kept secrets and they are used as a visual attraction. Due to this fact, jujus have achieved great popularity.

Designs with juju hats provide texture to walls with an exceptional touch of glamour due to the natural feathers of birds.

Depending on the season, you can combine jujus in different areas of your house. If you wish to use them for a wall composition, you can use vivid and bright colours in summer. In winder choose neutral tones and jujus with natural feathers at any time.

You can also try with a sequence of progressive colours and include bicolour or multicoloured jujus.

The main colour of juju has to match with the colour of some decorative element found in the area. On the walls painted with dark colours you can use light and white jujus.

You can decorate the living room, entrance hall, dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchen or bathroom. They can also be placed outdoors (if you avoid exposure to high temperatures).

 

Do you know www.thekingofthejuju.com?

 

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Cities and Countries,Decor and Architecture,History of Africa

THE ORIGIN OF TIMBUKTU

15 May , 2017  

The city of 333 saints takes its name from Tamasheq ‘tin’ or ‘tim’ Buktu, wich means the well of buktu, the name of the guardian of the place who saw the touaregs arrive in the 11th century. This place is still visible in the city amongst other architectural treasures to discover.

 

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Cities and Countries,Our trips,Travel philosophy

ARGUMENTS WHEN ENTERING A NEW CITY

17 Sep , 2015  

A good way of recognising new arrivals to a city is, if you are travelling alone, is a muted anger whereas if you are travelling in company, this takes the form of an open argument.

 

Distrust, doubts, the relative nature of what one takes as read at a few hours’ distance, undermine the bemused and weary traveller’s patience.

 

Perhaps it is in these moments when the journey reveals itself to the traveller.

 

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Our trips,Travel philosophy

ONLY IN THE MIND OF THE TRAVELLER IS THERE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN TRAVELLER AND TOURIST

10 Sep , 2015  

For a long time I warned that there was no tourist who was not a traveller

 

Later on, after travelling for many years, I reached the conclusion that this dichotomy did not go beyond the mind of the person in question. How would a mursi distinguish this?

 

I fear that wherever one is travelling, the most likely thing is that most people do not manage, rightly so, to distinguish you from a bog-standard group of tourists.

 

Let’s live with this

 

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Cities and Countries,Decor and Architecture,History of Africa

WATCH OUT! ARABIC DECORATION IS A EUROPEAN REALITY

3 Sep , 2015  

The exotic dramatic quality of Arabic decoration is extraordinary. A means of escape from the industrialised western decoration so overly confused as to what it aims to aspire to in terms of luxury and the limitation of its resources to serialised, repetitive and angular constructions offering furnishings with laboratory materials resulting in simply pale imitations of the past.

 

Nature, colour, constructive sets, exquisite materials,  engaging ambiences, etc. all of these attract us the decoration projected through magazines as samples of a new luxury concept.

 

However, is Arabic decoration truly Arabic? Contemporary Arabic culture does not offer, except on rare occasions, any of these aesthetic principles. Even its aspiration is to foolishly mock western standards adding a further over-top-touch, ostentatiousness and bad taste.

 

In truth that sample of an aesthetic universe based on traditional Arabic culture has been recreated by western foreigners (refined and well-to-do foreign with new horizons free from the inherent atavisms of the west).

 

Even the recovery of traditional trade, handicrafts and pieces form part of this trend. There is still room for many unanswered questions on philosophical, political, anthropological and religious grounds, although there is plenty of time for them to be asked. The idea has been thrust forward; Arabic decoration is in fact European decoration.

 

It is worthwhile underlining that this is no way conditions the enjoyment and delight we take from a truly fascinating decorative model that is destined to make us reconsider interior design in the west.

 

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Travel philosophy

THE WONDERS’ JOTTER. TRAVEL NOTEPADS

27 Aug , 2015  

 

I have tried all types, A4 size, A5 size, pamphlet size, hardback or paperback, with plain or lined pages… After so many trips these notepads form part of my personal memoirs just like any iconic travelling legend (Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta…)

 

Therein we find the greatest distractions that the traveller’s mind conjures up during the abundant moments of calmness and reflexion as well as mundane entries such as daily expenses.

 

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Travel philosophy

THERE IS NO THINKING WITH WIFI

4 May , 2015  

Air transport’s demands often require mobile phones to be turned off and therefore it is not possible to have internet access. I must confess that after cursing the universe for wasting a few minutes waiting that could have used to check the mail and carry out the usual emergency tasks, I end up thanking this situation because it forces me to face a naked and virgin time which I am usually no longer accustomed.

 

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