Forget Back To Normal — The World Has Never Been As Open As It Is Now

The World Openness Score (WOS) has officially reached an all-time high of 54% global openness, moving past the dramatic two-year setback caused by plummeting visa scores during the COVID-10 pandemic.

On January 11, 2020, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced the first death caused by the coronavirus, and from that moment… everything changed.
From unprecedented border closures, worldwide quarantine measures, and a global tally of over 3 million deaths, the life-changing effects of COVID-19 appeared insurmountable.

That is, until now.

First, let’s rewind…

The original real-time interactive resource for individuals and government agencies on global mobility, The Passport Index, has been monitoring and measuring ease of travel between countries since prior to the pandemic, directly reflecting trends of freedom and openness through its proprietary data.

Since the inception of the World Openness Score (WOS) in 2015 — The Passport Index’ acclaimed tool -which continuously measures and reports on the levels of visa-free travel globally, and how open countries are to one another; the world steadily opened at an average pace of 6%.

As avid optimists, our calculations suggested that if this trend continued, the world would be completely open for visa-free travel by 2035.

However, between December 31st 2019, and May 31st 2020, when COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic; WOS went from all-time high of 21,360, to its all-time low, of 12,994 — dropping 65%. 67% of the world was closed for travel.

With major disruptions to global mobility, rendering passport powers to all-time lows, many feared the end of open borders and global mobility. And for a while, they were right.
While governments continued to further implement strict safety protocols and regulations and people still hesitated to cross borders in fear of new waves of infections — the Passport Index Q1 Report of 2021 uncovered global mobility at a standstill, with an underwhelming 1.7% increase over 4 months.

The hope for recovery in reinstating open borders only came by Q3 of 2021, when the WOS made encouraging strides, growing 19.7% to end the year with a score of 18,441 – roughly the same level as 2017. And by 2022, with the WOS climbing dramatically for the second year in a row, there was finally reason to believe that global mobility was well on its way to a full recovery.

Drum roll, please…

In August 2022 — data collected by the WOS finally suggested an end to the pandemic’s tiresome blockade on global freedom.

And, it gets better. Not only did visa-free travel finally return to normal after two and a half years, but after Marshall Islands finally lifted their COVID-19 travel bans on August 7th, the WOS surpassed its historic high, breaking the record at 21,362 with a 54% open world.

“The world is finally more mobile than ever, and times like these are yet another testament that the value of global mobility is undisputed,” shares Armand Arton, Founder and President of Arton Capital, and the creator of The Passport Index. “Movement of people, ideas, and services have defined the 21st century, driving innovations and uniting populations, and this new era of global mobility is another steppingstone to realizing the remarkable power and potential of an open world.”

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