The research suggests that the UK’s big events of the past year – including the Olympics, Paralympics and Jubilee – have improved the UK’s reputation overseas and created ‘substantial’ new interest in the country.
The research was carried out for the British Council by Ipsos MORI among 8000 adults in 11 key overseas economies – including the US, China, India and Russia.
The London 2012 Games have had a major overseas impact – with almost two thirds (64%) saying the UK did a good job at organising the Olympics (compared with only 6% who disagree), and 44% believing that the UK has a greater influence over world affairs as a result (with only 3% taking a negative view).
More than one person in three (36%) said the 2012 Games have made them more likely to visit the UK – and more than 1 person in 3 (35%) said the Games have made the UK more attractive to them as a place to do business or study. Fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) said the Olympics have not made them any more likely to want to visit, study or do business in the UK.
More than half of people questioned said the Olympics and Paralympics have made them think more positively about how the UK views disability (56%), the UK’s sporting prowess (52%), the UK’s arts scene (54%), and how friendly the people of the UK are (52%). Almost half said the Games have made them think more positively about the UK’s sense of humour (46%). In all cases, no more than 5% said the Games have had a negative effect on these views.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee also contributed to improved perceptions of the UK on a smaller scale. More than a quarter of people questioned (27%) said they had experienced or been aware of the Jubilee in some form – and, of those, 1 in 3 (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.
John Worne, the British Council’s director of strategy, said: "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, ‘can do’ attitude and UK culture. These results show just what we can do when Team GB pulls together.
"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."