Steady passport ranking reflects Oman’s stability

Oman’s steady passport ranking reflects the solidity and stability of the country, according to the creators of the 2017 Passport Index.

The index ranks the passports of the United Nations’ 193 countries and six territories, in order of passport power, or the number of countries the holders of a particular passport can visit without first having to procure a visa, and was compiled by Arton Capital, a global advisory firm that specialises in investor programmes, which helps people gain citizenship through investment. Oman is ranked 56th in the world, when it comes to the Global Passport Power rank, having gone up one position since 2015. The rank remained unchanged last year.

“In 2016, Oman’s Global Passport Power Rank was 56, identical to its current. In 2015, it was number 57,” said Hrant Boghossian, vice president of Marketing for Arton Capital. “Hence, we can conclude that Oman has been largely stable.”

The ranking means that Oman enjoys visa-free travel to 32 countries: Albania, the Bahamas, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Haiti, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Micronesia, Morocco, New Zealand, the Palestinian Territories, the Philippines, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thailand, Tunisia and Vanuatu.

 In addition, Omani citizens can obtain a visa-on-arrival, if they wish to visit the following 29 nations: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Kenya, Macao, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Samoa, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine and Yemen.

E-visas can also be easily obtained by Omani citizens, who wish to travel to the a further 15 nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, India, Colombia, Gabon, Lesotho, Myanmar, Moldova, Rwanda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.

Omani citizens also enjoy visa-free travel to the other five Gulf Cooperation Council nations: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, and travel agents in Oman say citizens are glad to be offered such services, because it makes for convenient ad-hoc travel abroad.

“If you look at some of the countries on this list, it coincides with where many Omanis choose to go to for their holidays,” said Emad Bachchu, managing director of the Akash Yatra travel agency.

“We see quite a few enquiries for trips to places, such as Morocco, Turkey, and Sri Lanka, which have always been very popular family destinations.

“Countries, such as Thailand, Kenya and Cambodia have always been popular tourist destinations, and there is a big emphasis now on promoting eastern European countries, such as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan for greater tourism, so there is a very strong advantage for Omani citizens here.”

“During the summer, Omanis like to travel abroad because it’s quite hot here,” added an official from Star Travels LLC. “European countries have very good weather in the summer, so they like the climate there at the time. We’re also seeing people book getaways to Australia and New Zealand, especially towards the end of the year, because the seasons are reversed and the weather is very good at the time.”

Among the GCC countries, Oman was ranked fifth among the six-nation alliance, ahead of Saudi Arabia, which had a global ranking of 58. The United Arab Emirates (26) has the region’s strongest passport, with Kuwait (49), Qatar (51) and Bahrain (54) all following it.

Singaporean citizens have the world’s strongest passport, closely followed by those from Germany, Sweden and South Korea. Afghanistan was ranked last in the pecking order, with Pakistan and Iraq completing the bottom three.

Times of Oman


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