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The 20 countries in the world with the best 'brand' reputation

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Tokyo station in Japan. Photo by: Prisma by Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Britain and the US are losing their positive global reputation because of their turbulent domestic politics, a new index suggests.

Japan, Norway and Switzerland have the best “brand” abroad, according to a survey of 2,500 tourists from 75 countries.

The 2019 Country Index by FutureBrand highlights “measures of a great nation” beyond GDP, using survey responses on quality of life, business, culture, values and tourism to rank countries. It also compares how they rank on such measures with their position on the World Bank’s league table of the biggest global economies.

Britain, which has the world’s fifth biggest GDP, has slumped seven places in the rankings since the last index in 2014, finishing 19th.

The United States, the world’s biggest economy, has also slipped five places to 12th.

Britain's reputation has been dented by its polarised politics, a new index suggests. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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Both countries are “now broadly perceived as being less inviting to tourists, visitors, students and investors” alarmed by their political climates.

Eight of the top 10 countries are in Europe, and FutureBrand says the top three are broadly stable, neutral and social democratic in their politics.

Some of the fastest-rising countries not in the top 10 include Slovakia, Peru, Hungary, Turkey and Romania, despite several being affected by significant political turmoil in recent years.

Respondents to the online survey earlier this year appeared more concerned by environmental friendliness, quality of life and tolerance than in the previous survey in weighing up countries’ reputations.

Jon Tipple, chief worldwide strategy officer at FutureBrand, said: “Despite still being in the top 20, by a whisker, falling out of the top 15 ranking should cause concern for Brand Britain. Our research indicates that polarised politics could be to blame.”

The top 20 countries with the best ‘global brands’

Here is the full list of FutureBrand’s top 20:

  1. Japan

  2. Norway

  3. Switzerland

  4. Sweden

  5. Finland

  6. Germany

  7. Denmark

  8. Canada

  9. Austria

  10. Luxembourg

  11. New Zealand

  12. United States

  13. Netherlands

  14. Italy

  15. Australia

  16. United Arab Emirates

  17. France

  18. Singapore

  19. United Kingdom

  20. South Korea