UK’s image boost ‘could benefit East Anglia’

Visit East Anglia's Keith Brown and Richard Ellis

Visit East Anglia's Keith Brown and Richard Ellis

East Anglia’s tourism chiefs are hoping the region will benefit after a study showed that, as hoped, the UK’s image abroad was boosted by last year’s Olympics.

A worldwide survey by VisitBritain showed Britain’s standing as a country where tourists are welcome has been enhanced by the Games.

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

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.

Visit East Anglia chief executive Keith Brown said: “We are encouraged by this poll although we were expecting positive feedback from the massive global television coverage that the Olympics generated for Great Britain.

“The work now begins to try and use this endorsement to bring more people to East Anglia in particular. Visit East Anglia is working with both Visit England and Visit Britain to ensure that Norfolk and Suffolk are part of visitors itineraries, which will mean working closer with the tour operator communities both here and in key overseas markets.”

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

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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.

The poll also showed:

:: 63% said the Olympics had increased their interest in visiting Britain for a holiday;

:: 75% who saw Olympic coverage agreed they wanted to see more than London;

:: 73% agreed that Britain offered outstanding venues for watching live sport;

:: 70% said Britain had lovely countryside;

:: 58% agreed that Britain had a wide variety of world cuisines on offer.

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 went on: “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.”