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If there were an Olympics of passports, Japan wouldn’t just be hosting it — it would be winning the whole competition

(CNN) — If there was an Olympics of passports, Japan wouldn’t just be hosting it — it’d be winning the whole competition.

The Henley Passport Index, which has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006, has released its latest rankings and analysis.

As the index doesn’t take temporary restrictions into account, Japan is once again top of the leaderboard, with its passport offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 193 destinations around the world.

However, the Henley & Partners report says, in the first quarter of 2021 international mobility was still only 12% of its pre-pandemic levels, meaning “the gulf between theoretical and actual travel access offered by even high-ranking passports remains significant.”

In the real world, holders of Japanese passports theoretically have access right now to fewer than 80 destinations — about the same as the index ranking of Saudi Arabia, which sits down in 71st place (while Saudis currently have actual travel access to just 58 destinations).

The passport top 10 remains virtually unchanged as we enter the second half of the year, with Singapore remaining in second place (with a score of 192) and South Korea tying with Germany in third place (with a score of 191).

Again, in real-world terms, it’s a little different. Holders of Singaporean passports can right now access fewer than 75 destinations (equivalent to the index ranking of Kazakhstan, which is down in 74th place).

China and UAE biggest climbers

Even countries with highly successful Covid-19 vaccine rollouts are still bound by travel restrictions. The US and the UK are in joint seventh place on the index, alongside Switzerland, Belgium and New Zealand — having both steadily declined in passport power since holding the top spot together in 2014.

In theory, US and UK passport holders are able to access 187 destinations around the world, but the reality is that doors are only open to UK travelers in fewer than 60 destinations, while the US is just ahead at 61. That puts them on a par with Uzebkistan and Rwanda’s index rankings respectively.

As usual, most of the remaining top 10 spots on the index are held by EU countries. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain are in fourth place; Austria, Denmark are at number five; while France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden are together at number six. In terms of travel freedom, the big success stories of the past decade have been China and the United Arab Emirates.

Since 2011, China has climbed 22 places — from 90th position to 68th — while the UAE has gone all the way from No. 65 to No. 15. Its work on strengthening diplomatic ties around the world now means that its citizens are allowed easy access to 174 destinations, compared to the 67 destinations of a decade ago.

Japan holds onto the top spot for 2021.

Japan holds onto the top spot for 2021.


Passport inequality

Christian H. Kaelin, chair of Henley & Partners, says that while we don’t know how long travel restrictions will continue, it’s clear that global mobility will be severely hampered for at least the rest of this year. “In many countries, serious doubts have arisen as to the ability to handle a global crisis, with the subsequent embrace of more inward-looking priorities.”

He adds, “Increasing isolationism and deglobalization will no doubt have profound consequences, among them further damage to the world’s economy (and) a significant reduction in global mobility.”

Henley has commissioned exclusive research and analysis, finding that international leisure travel remains less than 10% of pre-Covid levels and is largely regional.

There is also rising passport inequality in this new era.

Japanese passport holders have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 167 more destinations than citizens of Afghanistan, who are at the bottom of the ranking as they can only visit 26 places without needing a visa in advance. That’s the biggest gap between countries since the index began, says Henley & Partners.

The decade ahead

“Widespread adoption of Covid passports appears to be an imminent reality for those able to access them,” says Robert Maciejewski, CEO of SIP Medical Family Office in Switzerland, in Henley’s report.

“Even if a legal obligation to obtain a Covid passport is unlikely in most democratic countries, not having one will probably result in de facto restrictions of your freedom, whether it comes to travel or to daily routine activities.”

Due to the global disparities in terms of vaccine access and rollout programs,”Covid passports will no doubt further widen passport inequality worldwide,” says Henley’s Kaelin.

IATA, the global trade association for airlines, welcomes the move by many countries to let vaccinated travelers skip quarantine, but also warns that the freedom to travel is something that should be available to all.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, says, “Data shows us that vaccinated travelers should not be restricted. And screening can safely open borders for those without access to vaccination.”

The Henley report also comments on the protectionist approach taken by many governments in response to the pandemic, and the adoption of inward-looking policies. It suggests that if more countries took a collaborative approach, it would have have more beneficial effects globally.

Greg Lindsay, director of applied research at Canada-based non-profit NewCities, says: “As global cities and nations alike grapple with the ramifications of Covid-19, it’s critical they realize the true nature of the threat — and opportunity — before them.

Rather than dwelling on wealthy former residents now working from their second or third homes, they must focus on restoring the flow of immigrants. The cities that make themselves most hospitable to new arrivals in the wake of the pandemic are poised to be the capitals of the new Roaring Twenties.”

German passport at easyPass at Frankfurt International Airport

Germany has the highest-ranking European passport.

Alex Grimm/Getty Images

The best passports to hold in 2021 are:

1. Japan (193 destinations)

2. Singapore (192)

3. Germany, South Korea (191)

4. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain (190)

5. Austria, Denmark (189)

6. France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden (188)

7. Belgium, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States (187)

8. Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Norway (186)

9. Australia, Canada (185)

10. Hungary (184)

The worst passports to hold

Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to fewer than 40 countries. These include:

108. North Korea (39 destinations)

109. Nepal (38)

110. Palestinian territories (37)

111. Somalia (34)

112. Yemen (33)

113. Pakistan (32)

114. Syria (29)

115. Iraq (28)

116. Afghanistan (26)

Other indexes

Henley & Partner’s list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.

The Henley Passport Index is based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.

Arton Capital’s Passport Index takes into consideration the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories — ROC Taiwan, Macau (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.

Its mid-2021 index has New Zealand in the top spot, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 136.

UK expats in France hit with £25 registration fee for hosting friends or family

It costs €30 (£25.70) and must be sent to the local town hall in advance of the visit. The news was met with dismay by many – saying it could end any hopes of a weekend jaunt to see expats in France.

Dr Sally Osborn tweeted: “No more spontaneous weekend visits.”

Since the Brexit transition period ended in January, UK expats living in France became subject to the rules – despite having no issue hosting friends and family for decades under existing EU rules.

This is because, under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals are now counted as estrangers (foreigners) in the eyes of French authorities.

This means that UK nationals can visit France without a visa for 90 days but must show proof of accommodation, insurance and that they have adequate funds to finance their trips.

READ MORE: China takeover of Taiwan to mark ‘game over’ for West

Officials will provide a certificate that must be sent to the traveller so that they can show it on demand on arrival in France.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry told The Local: “British tourists, who are now third-country nationals, are subject to compliance with the conditions for entry into the Schengen area under Article 6 of the CFS.

“Since January 1st 2021, they must have proof of sufficient means of subsistence both for the duration of their intended stay and for their return to the UK.

“To enter France, British tourists must therefore present

– an attestation d’acceuil issued by the town hall (if they are staying in private accommodation) or a hotel reservation (which can be replaced by a sum of €120 per person per day)

– proof of means of subsistence (65 euros per day in the case of hotel accommodation or 32.50 euros in the case of an accommodation certificate)

– a certificate of insurance for repatriation on medical grounds.”

The Foreign Office explains in its France travel advice that when arriving at French border control you should be prepared to “show proof of your accommodation, for example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home), or an invitation from your host if staying with a third party, friends or family.

It adds: “As detailed by the French Ministry of Interior here, you may be requested to provide an “attestation d’accueil”.

French residents will need to acquire the “attestation d’accueil” and pass it on to you before you enter France.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

Kaitlyn Bristowe Reveals The Advice She Gave Katie Thurston While Hosting ‘The Bachelorette’

While co-hosting the upcoming season of ‘The Bachelorette,’ Kaitlyn Bristowe was able to give advice to Katie Thurston from her firsthand experience on the show.

Katie Thurston was in good company on her season of The Bachelorette, which filmed in March and April. The show’s newest star spent time with former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams during her season, as they replaced Chris Harrison as hosts of the show. “I always give the same advice to everyone that goes on the show and that’s basically to not try and control the narrative,” Kaitlyn told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY during an interview of TV Talk on Instagram Live, where she was promoting the Raw Beauty Reset wellness program.

She added, “[I always say] to be authentic to who you are. There’s a lot of pressure from the world watching, and a lot of times you get in your head about what they would want to see and how it might be portrayed, but you can’t let that drive the narrative of the story. It has to be truly authentic to yourself and how you’re feeling, no matter who you’re going to piss off.”

kaitlyn bristowe
Kaitlyn Bristowe in a button down dress. (Shutterstock)

Season 17 of The Bachelorette premieres on June 7,  and has a “really great group of guys,” Kaitlyn confirmed. “Well, I say that, but I could watch it back and go, ‘OH!’” she admitted. “I wasn’t living there with them, but they all seem like really stand up gentlemen.” She also gushed over working closely with Tayshia on the show. “At the beginning, we hung out before, and had a blast,” she explained. “We were excited to do that together, but I think working together, we really realized how well we get along and how much fun we could really have. So it was a blast.”

katie thurston
Katie Thurston on ‘The Bachelor.’ (ABC)

Kaitlyn and Tayshia were chosen as hosts for The Bachelorette after it was announced that Chris would be “stepping down” from the franchise for the time being. The decision came following Chris’s public controversy during season 25 of The Bachelor. The longtime show host was called out for defending a contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell’s, past racist behavior, which came to light as the show was airing. Rather than publicly condemning Rachael for attending an antebellum-themed party in 2018, Chris excused her actions, and faced extreme backlash for it. It’s unclear when or if he’ll ever return to the show.

However, there’s plenty of Bachelor Nation content to go around for viewers. After Katie’s season of The Bachelorette finishes airing this summer, the next season of Bachelor in Paradise begins in April. Plus, in the fall, there will be a second season of The Bachelorette starring Michelle Young. Katie and Michelle were both contestants on season 25 of The Bachelor, but Rachael was chosen as Matt James’s final pick. The two briefly broke up after her racism controversy came to light, but they have since started spending time together once again.

Author: Alyssa Norwin
This post originally appeared on Hollywood Life

Aaron Rodgers: Everything To Know About The Football Star Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ This Week

This Super Bowl champion is engaged to Shailene Woodley and stepping in to host ‘Jeopardy!’ Who is Aaron Rodgers? Let’s find out.

Following the November 2020 death of Alex Trebek[1], Jeopardy has seen a slew of guest hosts step in until they find a suitable replacement. Up next: Aaron Rodgers[2]. The NFL star hosted two weeks of episodes, recorded in mid-February according to the Washington Post[3], and they will begin airing tonight (Apr. 5). For Aaron, 37, the job is a dream of a lifetime. “One of my idols growing up was Alex Trebek,” Aaron said on an episode of The Pat McAfee Show, accidentally spilling the beans before the formal announcement was made. “They’re doing some guest-hosting spots. It’s going to be released here pretty soon, but I have the opportunity to do one of those. … I’m excited about that opportunity with Jeopardy!’”

“I think I may have jumped the gun a little bit, so I apologize to Jeopardy! if they wanted to announce it,” he said during a press conference, per TODAY[7]. “I just got so excited on the show earlier. It kind of just went down the last couple of days, us figuring it out. It is very exciting. It’s for the offseason. We’ll be even more excited when that opportunity gets a little closer, but, man, the show has been so special to me over the years. It’s been a staple at my house here in Green Bay for the last 16 years — 6 o’clock watching Alex and trying to get as many questions as I can.”

Aaron has the qualifications to host Jeopardy!. In addition to being a lifelong fan, he appeared on – and won – an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! n 2015. “When the opportunity came up in 2015, I mean, that was a dream come true,” he said at the time. “It really was. To be on there, to get to meet Alex, was just such a special moment.” So, who is this Aaron Rodgers?

1. Aaron Rodgers Is A Celebrated NFL Player.

It’s impossible to sum up the breadth of Aaron Rodgers’ football career in a few sentences. Born in Northern California, Aaron quickly discovered a talent for tossing the pigskin. He graduated from Pleasant Valley High School, played football at both Butte Community College and University of California, Berkeley (where he led the Golden Bears to the Holiday Bowl), before declaring himself eligible for the 2005 NFL Draft. Despite building a buzz around his 24 touchdowns (and low number of interceptions), Aaron was picked 24th, chosen as a backup for the Green Bay Packers’ then-quarterback, Brett Favre.

After Favre’s first retirement in 2008, Aaron was given the starter position. Though the Packers missed the playoffs that year, Aaron’s performance (4,038 yards, 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 8.2 average yards per pass attempts) turned heads. Two years after taking over at the starting quarterback, Aaron led the Packers to championship glory. They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV, and Aaron earned the title of Super Bowl MVP.

Aaron Rodgers during a football game (Shutterstock)

By 2021, Aaron would have a long list of records and accomplishments. He would be a 3-time NFL MVP winner, a 9-time Pro Bowl player, and lead the league in completion percentage in 2020. He would also go 402 consecutive passes without an interception, set the record for passer rating (122.5 in 2011), and set the record for fastest NFL quarterback to reach 300 career passing touchdowns. While he may not have as many championship rings as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers is in the conversation when it comes to “greatest of all time.”

2. Aaron Has Been Romantically Involved With Some A-List Celebrities. 

While Aaron is one of the biggest stars in the NFL, he often shuns the spotlight. He said in a 2017 feature in ESPN The Magazine[11] that “decreased privacy” is one thing that he dislikes about fame. He also says he doesn’t like how fame brings about “[an] increased strain or pressure or stress associated with relationships. Friendships and dating relationships.”

“When you are living out a relationship in the public eye, it’s definitely … it’s difficult,” he added. “It has some extra constraints, because you have other opinions about your relationship, how it affects your work and, you know, just some inappropriate connections,” he said, referencing his relationship with actress Olivia Munn[12]. Aaron and Oliva dated from[13] 2014 to 2017. Many fans blamed the high-profile relationship for Aaron’s poor performance on the field. “They’re such misogynists, right?” he said at the time.

“I think there should be a separation between your public life and your personal life,” he told ESPN The Magazine. “I’ve just always felt like there should be a time when you don’t have to be on. … I do have a desire to be myself and not have to feel like I’ve got to be so private. I think, because I live in a fishbowl, you either kind of internalize everything or you just relax and let life be.”

A year after his split from Olivia, Aaron began dating former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick[14]. Their relationship ended in 2020[15]. He has also been linked[16] to actress Jessica Szohr.

3. Aaron Rodgers Is Currently Engaged To Shailene Woodley.

Aaron was previously engaged to a woman from high school, according to ESPN The Magazine. Towards the end of 2020, Aaron revealed that he was engaged for a second time. While accepting his third NFL MVP award, Aaron shared what he accomplished during the 2020 season. “It’s an honor to win this award for the third time,” he said. “2020 was definitely a crazy year, filled with lots of change, growth, some amazing, memorable moments, 180 straight days of having my nose hairs scraped, playing for very little fans or no fans the entire season, I got engaged, and I played some of the best football of my career.”

The announcement came mere days after a report claimed that Aaron and Shailene Woodley[17] were dating. She later confirmed[18] the news. “Yes, we are engaged,” said Shailene, 29, on the Feb. 22 episode of The Tonight Show. “But for us, it’s not ‘new’ news. So it’s kind of funny. Everybody right now is freaking out over it, and we’re like, ‘Yeah, we’ve been engaged for a while.’”

4. Aaron Rodgers Is Also Known For His Family Drama. 

If Aaron Rodgers is known for three things, it’s football, his high-profile relationships, and that he’s been at odds with his family for years. The first glimpse of this estrangement came in the spring of 2016, when Aaron’s younger brother, Jordan Rodgers, appeared on JoJo Fletcher’s season of The Bachelorette. During Jordan’s time on the show, he said that Aaron had stopped talking to his family for years (a Bleacher Report[19] article would claim that Aaron cut off contact at the end of 2014. Many would blame Olivia Munn for the rift, but she would later say in an interview that she pushed for Aaron to reconcile with his family, and that the Packers QB was already estranged[20] before they started dating.)

Aaron Rodgers, in action against the Chicago Bears (Shutterstock)

Though there were some hints that the feud[21] might be over, the drama flared up in 2020 when Aaron appeared on an episode of Danica Patrick’s Pretty Intense podcast. “I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet to a fiery hell,” he said, per PEOPLE[22]. “What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn his beautiful creation to a fiery hell at the end of all this?” The comments were taken as a dismissal of his Christian upbringing, and the family reportedly took what he said as a “slap in the face to the fundamentals of who they are.”

4. Aaron Is Active In Humanitarian Work. 

When he’s not focused on football, Aaron likes to play golf[23], do crosswords, and watch movies. “I like to play the guitar,” he told Young Hollywood[24] in 2010. “I play the piano a little bit. That’s kind of my passion.” Aaron is also a supporter of the MACC (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) Fund. His appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy! helped raised money for the MAAC Fund, and his tenure as a guest host in 2021 involved a charitable donation made by the show, equal to the cumulative winnings of the contestants while he was guest hosting.


  1. ^ Alex Trebek (hollywoodlife.com)
  2. ^ Aaron Rodgers (hollywoodlife.com)
  3. ^ Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ @AaronRodgers12 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ pic.twitter.com/dmaPSGrUwt (t.co)
  6. ^ April 3, 2021 (twitter.com)
  7. ^ TODAY (www.today.com)
  8. ^ @Jeopardy (twitter.com)
  9. ^ pic.twitter.com/SdDti16f1y (t.co)
  10. ^ April 5, 2021 (twitter.com)
  11. ^ ESPN The Magazine (www.espn.com)
  12. ^ Olivia Munn (hollywoodlife.com)
  13. ^ dated from (hollywoodlife.com)
  14. ^ Danica Patrick (hollywoodlife.com)
  15. ^ ended in 2020 (hollywoodlife.com)
  16. ^ linked (hollywoodlife.com)
  17. ^ Shailene Woodley (hollywoodlife.com)
  18. ^ confirmed (hollywoodlife.com)
  19. ^ Bleacher Report (bleacherreport.com)
  20. ^ already estranged (hollywoodlife.com)
  21. ^ the feud (hollywoodlife.com)
  22. ^ PEOPLE (people.com)
  23. ^ golf (www.packers.com)
  24. ^ Young Hollywood (younghollywood.com)

Jenna Lemoncelli