India Named Best Country Brand for Value for Money, Australia Emerges As World's Top Country Brand

Australia earns the coveted spot as the world’s top country brand for the third consecutive year, according to the 2008 Country Brand Index (CBI) which will be officially released Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008 at London’s World Travel Market, the premier annual exhibition of the global travel trade. Rising from its sixth place ranking last year, Canada is recognized second and the United States rounds out the top three country brands in the 2008 study. Other countries making the top 10 include Italy, Switzerland and France. The CBI examines how countries are branded and ranked according to key criteria, and identifies emerging global trends in the world’s fastest growing economic sector – travel and tourism, which accounts for US$5.9 trillion of economic activity worldwide this year and more than 238 million jobs. 2008 CBI Top Country Brands are as under :

1. Australia 6. France
2. Canada 7. New Zealand
3. United States 8. United Kingdom
4. Italy 9. Japan
5. Switzerland 10. Sweden

CBI, now in its fourth year, is a comprehensive study of approximately 2,700 international business and leisure travelers from nine countries conducted by FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy, in conjunction with public relations firm Weber Shandwick’s Global Travel & Lifestyle Practice. This year’s index includes rankings and trends as well as travel motivations, challenges and opportunities within the worlds of travel, tourism and country branding .

The CBI also identified China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Croatia, respectively, as the top three “rising stars” – those likely to become major tourist destinations in the next five years. Also making the list this year are Vietnam, India and Cuba. In addition, this year’s CBI includes an in-depth report of how China fares post-Beijing Olympics.

“In this our fourth year, it is exciting to see many countries embracing the idea of brand. However, we still feel this is a largely underdeveloped category with most countries continuing to promote and market themselves in ways that are not differentiated. Particularly in the coming years, country brands must improve both their strategic orientation as well as their delivery,” said Rina Plapler, senior executive director, FutureBrand.

This year’s CBI touches on a variety of topics relevant to travelers and tourism professionals including: intergenerational travel (represented by countries such as the U.S., Canada and Japan), medical tourism, mainstream luxury (represented by countries like Japan and Spain), ‘stay’cations and a rise in the off-the-beaten-track trips. Other notable trends this year focus on niche travel opportunities and the changing destination landscape.

“With the current state of the world — economic turmoil, political unrest and global warming — it’s always fascinating to see which countries come out on top in branding themselves, generating global recognition and fueling the travel and tourism industry,” said Rene A. Mack, president, Weber Shandwick’s Travel & Lifestyle Global Practice.

The following are key highlights from this year’s Country Brand Index including six new brand categories denoted with an asterisk. 2008 Country Brand Index Ranking Highlights are as under :

Best Country Brand United States, Germany, United Kingdom, France,
Ideal for Business: Italy

Best Country Brand to
Extend a Business Trip: Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Japan, Ireland

Best Country Brand for
Art & Culture: Italy, France, Egypt, Japan, Greece

Best Country Brand for
Authenticity: New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, India, Egypt

Best Country Brand for Maldives, Tahiti, Bahamas, Dominican Republic,
Beach: Australia

Best Country Brand for
Families: Canada, Spain, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand

Best Country Brand for
History: Egypt, Italy, France, Greece, Israel

Best Country Brand for
Resort & Lodging Australia, Switzerland ,
Options: United Arab Emirates, United States, Maldives,

Best Country Brand for New Zealand, Maldives, Switzerland, Norway,
Natural Beauty: Australia

Best Country Brand for
Nightlife: Japan, Brazil, Spain, Thailand, United States

Best Country Brand for
Fine Dining: Italy, France, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland

Best Country Brand for
Outdoor Activities & Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Belize,
Sports: Switzerland

Best Country Brand for
Rest & Relaxation: Maldives, Tahiti, New Zealand, Fiji, Bahamas

Best Country Brand for Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden,
Safety: Denmark

Best Country Brand for United States, United Arab Emirates, Singapore,
Shopping: Thailand, Japan

Best Country Brand for
Value for Money: Thailand, India, Mexico, Czech Republic, Poland

Best Country Brand You
Would Most Like to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland,
Live In : Scotland

*Best Country Brand for
Ease of Travel: Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, Germany

*Best Country Brand for
Standard of Living: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Switzerland

*Best Country Brand for Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark,
Political Freedom: Norway

*Best Country Brand for Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Sweden,
Advanced Technology: Germany

*Best Country Brand
for Quality Products: Japan, United States, Germany, France, Italy

*Best Country Brand for
Most Impressive Last China, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New
Year: Zealand, Japan

FutureBrand has developed a three-tiered evaluation system for ranking country brands. This Index incorporates global quantitative research, expert opinions, and references relevant statistics that link brand equity to assets, growth and expansion. The result is a unique evaluation system that provides the basis of our rankings. Almost 2,700 respondents from nine countries including the US, UK, China, Australia, Japan, Brazil, UAE, Germany and Russia participated in a travel survey. Participants were screened to include frequent international travelers (who travel internationally more than once a year) between the ages of 21 and 65, with
a balanced split between men and women. Business and leisure travelers were both included. Respondents answered questions about behavior around
destination selection; country associations with particular attributes; and overall awareness/familiarity, past visits, intent to visit, and willingness to recommend destinations to others. Survey results were aggregated and weighted in proportion to their regions’ respective volume of travel consumption. This was done in order to minimize potential bias around preferred locations from respondents from regions that may have been over-represented in the sample. Performance on attributes by country was then considered against expert opinions and secondary statistics in order to generate the country rankings.

FutureBrand part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE: IPG), is a leading brand consultancy within IPG that commands a global presence spanning 20 offices in 16 countries. Partnering with the world’s leading companies, FutureBrand helps its clients to develop profitable brands both today and into the future. Offering a full range of services from consumer branding and corporate identity, to brand identity, packaging design and beyond, FutureBrand works with clients to measure and increase brand value, define breakthrough brand strategies and create powerful brand experiences. Clients include ArcelorMittal, P&G, Microsoft, Nakheel, Intel, Barclays Premier, Nokia, Nestle, MasterCard, UPS, and Unilever.

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