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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The UAE passport has emerged as the greatest of the decade.
Responding to the latest passport index report, many Emiratis said having the most powerful passport meant ease of travel and a world of global opportunities for the UAE citizens.
Ahlam Al Lamki, head of research and development at the UAE General Women's Union, said: "It is a remarkable achievement for a young country like UAE. What other countries would have taken ages to achieve, the UAE did it in less than 50 years. This would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and we owe it to them," said Al Lamki. "As Emiratis, this opens the world in front of us whether travelling for work, studies or leisure," she added.
Fahad Al Hosani, general manager of Kawader Services Company - subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, said the ranking is a testament to the UAE rising political status globally and its diplomatic strength.
"Ten years ago, the UAE passport was not considered powerful. As citizens, the ease and accessibility we now enjoy at airports across the globe is phenomenal. You show your passport and clear formalities in less than two minutes," said Al Hosani, who is a frequent traveller.
"This is great! It makes me proud to be an Emirati. It makes me very happy seeing all the great achievements the UAE has accomplished in a very short period of time," Emirati lawyer Huda bin Redha told Al Khaleej Today. "Having an Emirati passport means I can easily make last minute travel plans without having to worry about applying for visas."
Dubai-based Emirati designer, Freyal Al Bastaki said she is proud of the UAE's achievement. "We would not have got this far without our leaders. As a designer, this motivates me to work harder and strive for the best. This is what our leaders taught us."
According to the Passport Index, both Afghanistan and Iraq have remained the weakest passport for the last 10 years with ongoing conflict tracking back to 2000s, as well as countries long facing unrest, including Iran and North Korea.
The citizens of these countries have access to less than 20 per cent of the world.
World is becoming more open
According to Passport Index' World Openness Score, "the world has never been more open than today", said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, that runs the Passe/Port.
The real-time World Openness Score is valued at 21,360. If every country were to travel freely, the absolute openness score would equate to 39,601, suggesting that 54 per cent of our world is in fact, open in 2019.
"At an average increase of four per cent year-over-year, it would be incredible to assume that by 2035 the entire world be open for travel," added Arton.
Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.
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