Tourism brand China in decline

5th Sep 2007

The findings of the latest Anholt Nation Brands Index (NBI), the first analytical ranking of the world’s nation brands, have been released. The Index, created by government advisor Simon Anholt and powered by global market intelligence solutions provider GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.), revealed that Brand China took a huge hit in the wake of the recent product recalls.

Its overall score declined between Q4 2005 and Q2 2007 by 4 percent. While this may not seem like a significant amount, it is nearly double the ground lost by any other country in the NBI.

China lost ground in five of the six dimensions that make up the NBI (Exports, People, Governance, Tourism, Culture and Heritage, and Immigration and Investment).

“Faulty and dangerous products are hurting Brand China: evidence from the latest NBI scores shows that global public confidence in Made in China products, previously never very strong, is declining even more steeply,” explains Anholt, author of the NBI report. “China’s economy may be on the rise, but the country’s brand image has taken a wrong turn in the road. The Beijing Olympics could be a bright light for China, but first, the country has to overcome doubts about Chinese governance, mistrust of Chinese products, and sluggish tourism. Whether the Olympics will really succeed in improving China’s image, or simply dig Brand China into a deeper hole, is very much in the balance.”

For Immigration and Investment as a whole, China’s score declined by 11.4 percent between Q4 2005 and Q2 2007. Now, only Israel is less popular than China as a place to live and work. Tourism isn’t doing any better. As a place people are “likely to visit, money being no object”, China dropped more than any other country in the survey, now ranking 27th in the Tourism category.



Greece debuts as NBI guest nation

Greece was ranked 17th in the Q2 2007 Anholt Nation Brands Index, just behind Ireland and in front of Belgium. Greece’s dominant brand dimension is tourism. The Q2 2007 NBI placed it in 2nd place just behind Italy for its tourism appeal. Its people were ranked 6th for the welcome visitors expected to receive. Greece’s ancient heritage is well known and not surprisingly, it was the leading European nation for heritage, both built and cultural. Heritage boosted its score in the culture dimension where it ranked 10th, but it was also seen to have strength in contemporary culture for which it was ranked 8th.


Greece languishes in the middle and lower reaches of the brand tables. Considering its identification with sport during the 2004 Olympics, and its victory in the European Soccer Championships in the same year, its 20th position for sporting excellence is a poor result. Greece’s exports come in at 26th out of 38. In governance, it is the lowest-ranked member of the pre-2003 EU, coming in at 19th place. Greece is not at present a country many people would be attracted to live or study in, and its government has less credibility than most of its fellow EU members.


The current spate of wildfires will probably not affect Greece’s brand image - natural disasters seldom have any effect on people’s deep-seated beliefs about other countries - even if it does impact tourism figures in the short term. However, accusations of poor handling of the situation by government may help to depress Greece’s already weak reputation in this area.



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