Photo from UNIAN

The Henley Passport Index, which assesses the world's most travel-friendly passports, has released its latest report for the first quarter of 2021.

Asian-Pacific countries have disrupted the years-long leadership of European states, being the first to gradually get back on track and start reviving from the pandemic effect, says the report.

The index was released on January 5.

Without taking into account the actual travel restrictions, the Japanese passport has retained the top spot for the third consecutive year (191 visa-free travel destinations available).

Singapore has ranked second this year (190 visa-free destinations), while South Korea and Germany (189) came third.

Read alsoUkraine updates list of safe travel destinationsA year ago, the experts observed record-high global mobility, which was further growing. They were convinced, the Index's author says, that freedom of movement was the hallmark of strong passports.

Global lockdowns have refuted these predictions, and with this came an understanding of what a truly strong passport is in a world affected by a pandemic.

At the same time, Ukraine has risen two spots in the ranking, now occupying 41st place with 130 visa-free destinations available. In the period from September to January, Ukraine signed a mutual visa-free agreement with Colombia. However, due to quarantine restrictions, Ukrainians are currently only able to travel visa-free to about 50 countries.

At the same time, Henley & Partners experts offered a forecast regarding Ukraine's positions in 2021.

"China's geoeconomic presence will expand, especially in Ukraine and Uzbekistan. In these conditions, Ukraine will be setting trends. It will restore visa-free travel to the EU and gain access to several new destinations. Labor demand in Central and Eastern Europe and Germany will continue to grow, which will cause further migration outflow from the country," said Grigory Nizhnikov, senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (Helsinki).