An ongoing pandemic, global conflict and general uncertainty have put a spotlight on every country’s need to be more agile and adaptable in recent years. By being able to implement flexible policies and solutions based on new information, governments can more effectively serve citizens and travellers in a rapidly changing world.

We spoke to residents and policy experts in some of the most highly ranked countries to find out what makes for an agile country and what travellers should expect when touching down.

These factors are more important than ever to travellers, many who are starting to travel internationally again for the first time in two years. As seen by the stream of new Covid-19 variants, conditions on the ground can shift rapidly and travellers may find more security visiting those countries with a strong track record of adjusting their policies appropriately and swiftly.

Ranked at the top of the Agility index, the US may not have implemented a federally mandated lockdown like many other Western countries, but its market-driven economy enabled an adaptability that spurred quick innovation in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

The food industry was just a microcosm of the flexibility of the country overall, said Rose, as other businesses were able to quickly adapt to the pandemic landscape, whether it was producing masks or hand sanitiser, or enabling technology like video conferencing to allow people to work from home more efficiently.

Different states were able to enact wildly different policies depending on their specific needs as well, which created 50 unique ways to respond to the pandemic. “California and Florida handled the pandemic in polar opposite ways, with California having extreme lockdowns and Florida balking at every restriction,” said Rose. “And yet both their economies did really well. It came down to strong leadership of a policy.

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Australia, ranked second overall in the Agility index, with its strongest scores in responsiveness and adaptability, took a very different approach to the US, implementing strict lockdowns that kept the island nation’s caseloads at worldwide lows. In the face of the later waves of Covid, however, the country quickly moved from an elimination strategy to reopening completely.


Placing 16th in Agility overall, Belgium’s high performance.Belgium is a country of dialogue and compromise, inevitable when you have different languages and such a complex political structure,” said resident Jurga Rubinovaite.
It wasn’t just the government that was adaptable; Rubinovaite notes that businesses quickly changed as well, with restaurants offering takeaway and food trucks, clothing shops moving online, and museums offering virtual tours.

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