An online survey of 35,000 consumers worldwide reveals that ‘brand UK’ is the best regarded of 35 countries.
The results confirm Britain’s appeal as a visitor destination - with heritage and culture particularly strong draws.
The fourth Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index (NBI) interviews 500-1,000 consumers in each participating country.
Participants rate each nation based on their perceptions of the cultural, political, commercial and human assets, investment potential and tourist appeal.
The UK’s tourism is placed eighth out of the 35 countries in the Index and is third overall for culture. As well as countries in the developed Commonwealth (Australia, New Zealand, Canada), Central European nations - Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - were particularly positive towards the UK’s tourism assets.
VisitBritain chief executive, Tom Wright, says:
“I’m delighted that Britain has come top in the latest Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index and is also recognised for its unique culture and its popularity as a visitor destination. Although tourism is just one of the six dimensions of a Nation Brand as defined by the NBI, it has a key role to play in keeping this country in such high regard around the world.”
“Britain’s success in the survey and its regard around the world is reflected in its ever-increasing popularity as a leading destination. 30 million international visitors came to the UK last year - out-performing many rival European destinations and another record.”
VisitBritain’s overseas visitor research indicates that Britain’s appeal as a tourism destination is founded on a trinity of strengths: heritage, culture and landscape. This is reflected in the Nation Brands Index, where the most popular activities on a potential trip to the UK would be visiting castles and stately homes, going to galleries or museums, visiting gardens and exploring the countryside.
As competition increases between rival destinations for international travellers, VisitBritain is presenting a re-invigorated Britain brand that recognises the depth, heart and vitality of the destination.
The brand speaks of the depth of experiences to be discovered here, of the people at the heart of these experiences and the warmth of welcome and rich stories they have to share, and of the vitality and vibrancy of our cities and Britain’s reputation for enterprise and creativity.
Below, Tom Wright comments on other key findings from the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index:
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are among the most positive towards the UK’s tourism assets
“Together, visits from these three countries have increased by an average of 55% year on year. VisitBritain already recognises the increasing importance of new and developing markets in Eastern Europe and South East Asia, as well as China, India and Russia, in growing the value of Britain’s visitor economy. We now operate in eleven developing markets including Mexico for 2006/07.”
India placed the UK second overall for tourism.
“VisitBritain has expanded its presence in India with new representatives in Bangalore and Mumbai complementing staff in our existing office in New Delhi. By 2050, India will be the world’s third largest economy behind China and the USA. At 250 million people in 2003, the Indian middle-class is already the size of the entire US population and is growing by around 30 million each year. The number of direct weekly flights between India and the UK will quadruple from around 20 to 80 by the end of 2006. In all, more than five million Indians travelled overseas last year. There have always been strong cultural links between India and the UK and 255,000 visit annually - up 28% - while spending has risen 53%.”
The UK is one of few nations in the NBI strong on both ‘contemporary culture’ (4th) (music, films, art, literature) and ‘rich cultural heritage’ (8th)
“Culturally the UK is extremely well-rounded, coming third overall on this dimension in the Index. British music has achieved global popularity - from the Rolling Stones and the Beatles to Robbie Williams and Oasis - while literary associations such as Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh, Dickens, Austen, Bronte and Sherlock Holmes help maintain global awareness and influence perceptions of different aspects of this country.”
“Today, film tourism is a growing global phenomenon creating a new breed of tourist - the ‘set-jetter’. Films have helped to showcase the essence of Britain’s varied destinations, our culture and iconic landmarks, as well as historic and contemporary characters. VisitBritain has pioneered film tourism’s huge potential and has a dedicated film tourism office in Los Angeles. Over the past decade we have developed a pedigree for working with movie studios, distribution companies and major motion pictures.”
“64% of all participants in the Index said they would be “very likely” to visit Britain’s museums and galleries if they were to visit here. Last year, London’s Theatreland witnessed a record 12.1 million customers - a third of them from overseas -spending over £375 million. Britain is 7th for being “rich in built/historical heritage” and competes strongly with ancient civilisations like Egypt, China and India and European rivals Italy, France and Spain.”
The UK “excels at sport”
“Britain’s sixth position is certainly a reflection of this country’s success in hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. It is also due in no small part to the popularity of many British sports around the world, our ‘cathedrals of sport’ and major events on the global sporting calendar. VisitBritain and the industry are already planning strategies to maximise the tourism benefits of the Olympic Games.”