UK's image 'enhanced' by Olympics

Britain is rated more highly for sporting prowess following the Olympic Games, says a VisitBritain survey

Britain is rated more highly for sporting prowess following the Olympic Games, says a VisitBritain survey

First published in National News © by

Britain's standing as a country where tourists are welcome has been enhanced by last year's Olympics.

Britain is also rated more highly for sporting prowess following the Games, showed the worldwide survey by VisitBritain.

But despite global coverage of the Torch relay through some picturesque spots, the global view of Britain as being "rich in natural beauty" barely improved.

Research in 15 countries asked people to rate 50 nations in various categories before the Games and afterwards.

In the category of the warmth of welcome to overseas visitors, Britain moved from 12th overall before the Games to ninth afterwards. In the "excels at sport" category, Britain moved from seventh to fifth, while Britain as a nation "brand" moved from fifth to fourth. As a good place to visit for culture, Britain again improved from fifth to fourth.

Britain was already high in the 50-nation list for a number of other categories and there was no change in perception for some of these. This meant that after the Games Britain was still in fourth place for tourism overall, seventh as a place people would like to visit if money was no object, fifth in being a country rich in historic buildings and monuments, and seventh in having a rich heritage culture.

The perception of Britain's people overall also remained unchanged, with Britain in fifth place. Before the Games, the one category where Britain lagged well behind was its natural beauty. After the Games, Britain moved up from 19th to 18th in this category.

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe 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."

She continued: "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."

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