Preference Center

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Angola: Luanda is the capital of Angola, one of 23 countries to have the world's most minimal visa restrictions, according to Arton Capital's Welcoming Countries Rank 2022.
Fabian/Adobe Stock
Djibouti: On the Horn of Africa peninsula, Dijbouti is near some of the world's busiest shipping city. Tadjoura, pictured, is one of its oldest towns.
Dave Primov/Adobe Stock
Guinea: The Niger River begins in southeast Guinea and is the main river of West Africa.
Aldo Pavan/The Image Bank RF/Getty Images
Maldives: By far the most popular tourist destination of the places topping the Welcoming Countries ranking, Maldives is an archipelagic state in the Indian Ocean.
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Comoros: Comoros is a volcanic archipelago in southeast Africa. The islands' Arabic heritage is seen in the Grand Mosque du Vendredi in the capital, Moroni.
John Seaton Callahan/Moment RF/Getty Images
Somalia: This is the view from the rooftop of the Al Jazeera Hotel in Hargeisa, the Somali capital.
Rocco Stecher/Moment Open/Getty Images
Bolivia: Jaen Street is one of the best preserved colonial streets in La Paz, the administrative capital of the South American country of Bolivia.
alexmillos/Adobe Stock
East Timor: The Southeast Asian nation of East Timor marked 20 years of restored independence in 2022.
Jacek Malipan/EyeEm/Getty Images
Malawi: Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa and its main industry is agriculture.
Ashley Cooper/Image Bank RF/Getty Images
Qatar: Doha is the capital of Qatar, which is enjoying an influx of visitors thanks to the World Cup.
gb27photo/Adobe Stock
Micronesia: Jellyfish Lake, in Palau, is one of Micronesia's top attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Olivier Blaise/Moment RF/Getty Images
Burundi: Burundi, in East Africa, is the world's poorest country in terms of GDP per capita. Cibitoke, in northwest Burundi, is pictured.
Walter Zerla/Getty Images
Guinea-Bissau: Guinea-Bissau, on West Africa's Atlantic coast, is known for its national parks and wildlife. The capital, Bissau, is a port city. Stock Photo
Nigeria: Nigeria has, by some distance, the largest population in Africa. Lagos, pictured, is a key business hub on the continent.
peeterv/iStockphoto/Getty Images
Tuvalu: The South Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu is one of the world's least visited countries -- and it's also at risk of being swamped by rising sea levels.
Brandi Mueller/Moment RF/Getty Images
Samoa: Lalomanu is one of the most popular beaches on Samoa, a Polynesian island nation which marked 60 years of independence in 2022.
Martin Valigursky/Adobe Stock
Gabon: Gabon, on Central Africa's Atlantic coast, was one of CNN Travel's top places to visit in 2022.
Katja Woelfing/EyeEm/Getty Images
Ivory Coast: The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro is the largest church in the world, according to Guinness World Records.
robertharding/Alamy Stock Photo
South Sudan: South Sudan's rainy season varies by location, but it generally occurs between April and November. This peaceful scene is near the city of Wau in the country's northwest.
Mike63/iStockphoto/Getty Images
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lokutu is a town on the Congo River. The territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers some 90,000 years ago.
Hervé Kashama/EyeEm/Getty Images
Rwanda: Rwanda, in Central Africa, is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills. This is the view of Mount Sabyinyo and Muhavura from Mount Bisoke volcano.
Yann/Adobe Stock
Cambodia: Cambodia is home to the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap province. It's one of the world's most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images
Ethiopia: Ethiopia's northern town of Lalibela is known for its ancient rock-hewn churches. Pilgrims are seen here gathering at the Church of Saint George.
distant lands/Moment RF/Getty Images
Unlocking the World

The world's most 'welcoming' countries of 2022

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London (CNN) — For the busiest of business travelers, who regularly find themselves called to fly to a string of countries at short notice, up-to-date information on which countries require visas or electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) is essential.
That's where Passport Indexes come in. There are several rival indexes on the market, including Arton Capital's Passport Index and the Henley Passport Index, which measure the relative clout of citizens' travel documents according to how many countries its holders can visit visa-free or visa-on-demand.
Arton Capital's ranking currently declares the United Arab Emirates as the world's most powerful, while Henley, which uses a different methodology, gives the crown to Japan.
On the flip side, though, are the countries whose doors are most open -- in visa terms, at least. Arton Capital measures these in its Welcoming Countries Rank and its 2022 list provides some fascinating insights into the current state of global mobility.
The ranking is updated in real time, as frequently as new visa waivers and changes are implemented. We spoke to Arton Capital's founder, Armand Arton, about its findings.

'I realized what freedom is'

"I was born in Bulgaria, so I know what it is to travel with a 'bad' passport," says Arton. "My parents were working in Morocco so I had to cross Europe when Schengen didn't exist in the '80s.
"As soon as the Berlin Wall fell down, we moved to Canada. And once I had the Canadian passport, I realized what freedom is."
Gallup data released December 7 found that Canadians consistently are among the most likely in the world to see their communities as good places for migrants to live.
Canada also ranks highest on Gallup's Migrant Acceptance Index and its government recently announced that it wants to bring in 1.5 million immigrants by 2025, to bolster the gap in its economy created by an aging population.
On the Welcoming Countries Rank, though, which looks at 199 countries and only measures them in terms of how many passports they accept visa-free, with visa on arrival or with eTA, Canada is a humble No. 71. The Great White North allows 54 nations easy access. That's just above Australia, who give that privilege to 46 countries, and the United States, which permits 45.

The reciprocity model

"The countries that normally have the 'best' passports [in the power rankings] have the most restrictive visas," says Arton. "If you take [those] top countries, they're not the most welcoming -- except Singapore.
"Singapore is the one who says, 'You know what, we want to have visitors and be bilateral. So they have 170 [visa-free] places they can go, and [162 nationalities] who can enter in their country without [visas], so they're believing in the reciprocity."
Singapore is No. 16 on the Welcoming Countries Rank, followed closely by a couple of other Asian destinations embracing the reciprocity model: Hong Kong at No. 21 and South Korea at No. 33.
As for the nations in the very top spot, there are 23 of them, all granting easy access to visitors from 198 countries out of 199.
While they might be welcoming in terms of visa restrictions, some countries or regions might not be safe to visit for all travelers. It's recommended that you check the travel advisories of your home country before planning any trips.

Tourism and trade

The Angkor Wat temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is Cambodia's star tourist attraction. It's one of the No.1 nations on the Welcoming Countries Rank.
Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images
Passport power is on the rise around the world, with countries in general becoming more welcome and -- with Covid restrictions increasingly lifted -- we are in fact in a golden age of global mobility.
The continent that has embraced this open travel environment more than anywhere else is Africa, and particularly Central and West Africa. 15 of the ranking's 23 "most welcoming" countries are to be found there, from Angola to Malawi to South Sudan.
Then there are the island nations, Maldives, Samoa and Tuvalu among them, whose local economies also could do with the boost that visitors and migrants bring.
Afghanistan is the country, according to Arton Capital's Passport Index, which has the least doors open to it: Only Dominica, Haiti and Micronesia offer its citizens a visa-free green light.
The benefits to countries around the world of taking an open approach to travel are simple. "Exchange, tourism, the development of trades, versus the visa income that they generate which is very, very small," says Arton.
"So when they measure the pros and cons of having a visa, which is a heavy documented regime, we're seeing a trend towards e-visa, where a country says, 'we still maybe want to generate a couple of million from visas, but let's make it online."
Arton thinks the day is coming when physical visa documents will be no more. "We believe that in the future, paper visas will disappear. You will not give in your passport in an embassy and wait for a week for somebody to make a stamp."

Welcoming Countries Rank 2022

Most open:
1. Angola, Djibouti, Guinea, Maldives, Comoros, Somalia, Bolivia, East Timor, Malawi, Qatar, Micronesia, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Tuvalu, Samoa, Gabon, Cote d'Ivoire, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Cambodia, Ethiopia
2. Seychelles, Togo, Uganda, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Suriname
3. Palau, Dominica, Madagascar
4. Malaysia
5. Lesotho
Least open:
86. North Korea, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan
85. Macao, Libya, Eritrea, Bhutan
84. Equatorial Guinea
83. Sudan, Algeria
82. Myanmar, Cameroon
Read more
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