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Britain’s image improves as world sees more welcoming nation.

A new study commissioned by VisitBritain and its partners in the GREAT campaign(1) suggests that global perceptions of ‘Welcome’, Britain’s ‘Overall Nation Brand’ and the UK’s sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to the hosting of the London 2012 Games.

The Nations Brands Index (NBI) research(2) rates 50 of the world’s leading nations around six core categories. Research was carried out in July 2012 and then repeated post Games. The study sets out to reveal how the international image of a country can change before and after hosting a major sporting event.

According to the new research Britain’s ‘Welcome’ has seen the biggest jump, moving from twelfth place in the lead up to the Games to ninth – putting Britain in the top 10 for the very first time.(3)

Britain’s ‘Overall Nation Brand’ and ‘Culture’ ranking moved up one place. ‘Tourism’ held its position in fourth place, with ‘People’ remaining fifth overall. Fourteen of the 15 panel countries rank the UK within the top 10 on the overall NBI. Nine  countries – including key source markets USA, China, Japan, Russia and India – also put the UK in the top three post-Games, a marked improvement on previous years(4).

More key findings include:

  • 63 per cent said the Olympics had increased their interest of visiting for a holiday;
  • 75 per cent of those who saw coverage agreed they wanted to see more than London;
  • 73 per cent agreed that Britain offered outstanding venues for watching live sport
  • 70 per cent said Britain has lovely countryside;
  • 58 per cent agreed that Britain has a wide variety of world cuisines on offer.

Perceptions of British sport see it move up two places into the top five in the overall rankings. The UK will continue to host major sporting events in the coming years with a Champions league Final, Tour de France, Rugby Union and Rugby League World Cups, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014, followed by the World Athletics Championships to be held in London in 2017.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said: “London’s hosting of the Games, the amazing opening and closing ceremonies and the warmth of welcome shown to our international visitors have combined to boost our global image.

“With our partners we have taken every opportunity to promote Britain to overseas audiences through our GREAT marketing campaign, our digital activity on Facebook and Twitter and by inviting foreign travel journalists to write about Britain. This work is now paying off with post Games visitor figures significantly up on last year, and prospects for 2013 looking strong.

“Britain is already an established visitor destination and our tourism ranking is high. The goal this year was to maintain rankings in culture and heritage where we are strong, and improve in areas such as the warmth of our welcome where we had room for improvement. We intend to build on these encouraging results to ensure we turn that increased goodwill into visitors and deliver a growth in tourism that will deliver jobs across the country.”

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “The summer of 2012 put the UK firmly in the global spotlight, allowing us to shape international perceptions and show the best of Britain. These results are very encouraging, and show that the UK’s sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to London 2012.  We are determined to deliver a lasting economic legacy for the whole country, boosting tourism and growth.”

To maximise the promotion of Britain overseas before, during and after the Games, VisitBritain together with UKTI, British Council and FCO mounted a major marketing campaign under the banner GREAT Britain. The campaign showcases the very best of Britain in a highly impactful campaign promoting culture, heritage, countryside and sport, along with education and business.

Posted on 16 January 2013

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