The Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee have enhanced the UK’s reputation and created substantial new interest in the country as a place to live, study and work, new research shows . The research, carried out for the British Council by Ipsos MORI among 8,000 adults in 11 key overseas economies including the US, China, India and Russia, reveals that the London 2012 Games have had a major overseas impact.
It shows that two thirds, some 64%, said that the UK did a good job at organising the Olympics and 44% said that the UK has a greater influence over world affairs as a result. Some 36% said the 2012 Games have made them more likely to visit the UK and 35% said the Games have made the UK more attractive to them as a place to do business or study. More than half of the people questioned said the Olympics and Paralympics have made them think more positively about how the UK views disability, as well as being more positive about the UK’s sporting prowess, the arts scene and the nation’s friendliness.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee also contributed to improved perceptions of the UK on a smaller scale after more than a quarter of people questioned, 27%, said they had experienced or been aware of the Jubilee in some form and, of those, 31% said they think more positively about the UK as a result, with only 3% saying that it has had a negative effect on their perceptions of the UK.
‘To know us is to love us and this year the UK has got everything right in turning some great national moments into global celebrations of excellence. The challenge now is to stay on top of the world in 2013. Without a huge global event like the Olympics next year, we need to keep on finding smart new ways to share our soft power assets: English, our education system, our vibrant arts scene and our entrepreneurial spirit to name but a few’ said John Worne, the British Council’s director of strategy.
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Geographically, the research shows a particularly high impact in India where more than three quarters believe that the UK did a good job at organising the Olympics and two thirds are more interested in doing business with or studying in the UK as a result. People in China, which hosted the 2008 Olympics, were least likely to be positive about the UK’s job of organising the 2012 Games but 43% still believe that the Games have improved the UK’s influence over world affairs.
‘These results confirm the great year that Britain has had on the world stage, but now comes the hard work to turn that global spotlight into visitors. We have spent much of the year developing a tourism strategy for Britain which is capable of delivering a sustained legacy from 2012′s remarkable events’ said Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain.
‘As things stand we are at the pinnacle of our profile overseas. These spectacular events created a once in a lifetime year for the British and a year in which our country has never looked so good to viewers around the world. That publicity will be harnessed by VisitBritain to drive visitors here in the years to come’ she explained, adding, ‘For 2013, we are forecasting international tourism to Britain will grow by 3%, meaning almost one million extra visitors to the UK who will spend a record £19 billion for the very first time. Early signs are good and international tourism can certainly deliver’.