Singapore and Malaysia top visa-free travel index for SEA region

Posted by - January 10, 2018

OBTAINING a passport that allows you to travel to nations without having to go through the rigmarole of visa applications is one of the most desirable factors for international travelers.
According to the 2018 Henley Passport Index, a wider variety of passports than ever before are allowing visa-free travel, with many chart climbers in the index coming from Asian nations.
#2018 TRAVEL
Visa-free entry will boost South Korea’s ailing tourism industry – report While Germany remains number one in the world for visa-free travel, gaining access to 177 countries, Singapore is only one country off sharing the top of the leaderboard.
This new data from residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley and Partners reveals this to be Singapore’s highest-ranking position on the chart in the last 10 years. Last year, Singaporean passport holders could travel to 173 countries without visas.
Taiwan's passport ranked 32nd best globally for visa-free travel #travel #ttot
— Trans World Travel (@transworldtr) January 10, 2018
As for continents, Europe shone through with the most national passports allowing visa-free travel. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Austria and the UK shared the third position, and Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherland, Spain and Switzerland shared fourth place.
The lowest-ranking countries for visa-free travel come from north Africa and the Middle East. Somalians can access 32 countries, but Afghanis feature last in the index with visa-free access to only 24 nations.
Of the 199 countries featured on the index, 143 improved their ranking over the past year and 41 countries maintained their position. This year was momentous for Malaysia as the nation climbed to 12th in the world and second for Southeast Asia.
Visas pho everyone: Vietnam extends e-visa scheme to six more countries China also climbed up the ladder by ten places to rank 75th out of 199 countries.
Dominic Volek, managing partner of Henley and Partners Singapore and head of Southeast Asia, said the need for visa-free access to global markets, whether it be for business or leisure, is more important than ever before.
“Two trends were clear in 2017: certain countries enjoyed accelerated economic growth while others witnessed political fragmentation, nervous markets and vulnerable economies. Access, connectivity and shared prosperity are all factors driving the need for greater travel freedom,” he said.
The benefits of visa-free travel include not having to fill out lengthy application forms, which can ask you personal information you might not want to share. Without lengthy forms, you can travel on a whim without dreading the long visa queues at border control.
Henley passport Index of 2018: Over the past 10 years, #UAE passport has climbed an impressive 28 places on the index, offering visa-free travel to 133 countries
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 10, 2018
A United States working visa remains the most desirable visa in the world at a reasonable US$190, but they are hard to obtain. But the most expensive visa comes from Nauru, the third smallest country in the world. A trip to the island off the coast of Australia will set you back a cool $8,000 for just three months’ stay, in visa costs alone.
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AirAsia committed to expansion despite route closures

Posted by - January 9, 2018

BUDGET airline AirAsia has announced the closure of the Surakarta to Kuala Lumpur route which will take effect from January 16.
The convenient two-hour flight route from Central Java in Indonesia to Malaysia’s capital is stopping due to commercial reasons, according to AirAsia Berhad commercial head Spencer Lee.
The sudden announcement and almost immediate shutting of the route mean AirAsia passengers have been left with a travel conundrum.
However, AirAsia has offered consolation to the existing travelers booked on the route by offering them a full refund or the option to reschedule their flight to another AirAsia route.
Mid-flight thieves steal thousands of dollars from unaware travelers Passengers traveling to Kuala Lumpur can instead take off from Semarang, Central Java or Yogyakarta, all of which are located within a reasonable distance from Surakarta airport.
This route closure may seem like a blow for the airline, but Lee assured customers AirAsia is still fully committed to adding new routes to Indonesia throughout 2018 and making the tropical region more accessible.
This closure, however, seems to be a new year theme for the airline as it terminates routes from Kuala Lumpur to Kalibo in the Philippines and Surat Thani in Thailand on March 24 and February 25, respectively.
These are the world’s safest airlines – Asia Pacific comes up trumps According to The Jakarta Post, the operation and service department manager of state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I, at Adi Soemarmo International Airport in Central Java, said the operator had heard about the news but has yet to receive an official confirmation from the carrier.
“Based on our data, the average number of passengers for the route is relatively high, up to 70 percent [capacity].”
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