By Emily Goddard

jessica ennis london 2012January 18 - The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics have significantly improved the world's perception of Great Britain, according to a new study which examined the country's international image before and after the Games.

Britain's "welcome" jumped from twelfth place in the lead up to the Games to ninth after in the Nations Brands Index (NBI) – which classifies 50 of the world's leading nations around six core categories, putting the UK in the top 10 for the very first time.

Of the respondents 63 per cent said the Olympics had increased their interest of visiting the country for a holiday, while 75 per cent of those who saw coverage of the Games agreed they wanted to see more than London.

The research, commissioned by VisitBritain and its partners in the GREAT campaign, suggests that Britain's "Overall Nation Brand" and the United Kingdom's sporting and cultural credentials have been boosted thanks to the hugely successful hosting of last summer's Games, with 14 of the 15 panel countries ranking the UK within the top 10 on the overall NBI.

Nine countries, including key source markets the United States, China, Japan, Russia and India also put the UK in the top three post-Games, a marked improvement on previous years.

Britain's "Overall Nation Brand" and "Culture" ranking moved up one place, "Tourism" held its position in fourth place, with "People" remaining fifth overall.

Perceptions of British sport see it move up two places into the top five in the overall rankings, with 73 per cent of the panel agreeing that Britain offered outstanding venues for watching live sport.

britain london 2012The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have helped put Britain in the top ten of the Nations Brands Index (NBI) for the first time

The UK will continue to host major sporting events in the coming years with a Champions League final, Tour de France, Rugby Union and Rugby League World Cups, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014, followed by the World Athletics Championships to be held in London in 2017.

"The summer of 2012 put the UK firmly in the global spotlight, allowing us to shape international perceptions and show the best of Britain," Culture Secretary Maria Miller.

"These results are very encouraging, and show that the UK's sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to London 2012.

"We are determined to deliver a lasting economic legacy for the whole country, boosting tourism and growth."

VisitBritain together with UKTI, British Council and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) launched a major marketing initiative under the banner GREAT Britain to promote the nation overseas before, during and after the Games.

The £500,000 ($797,000/€597,000) campaign showcased the best that Britain had to offer using a high impact campaign highlighting culture, heritage, countryside and sport, along with education and business.

Countryside-is-Great-Britain-Advertising-Campaign-PostcardThe GREAT Britain campaign was used to promote the nation overseas before, during and after the Games

"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," Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain said.

"With our partners we have taken every opportunity to promote Britain to overseas audiences through our GREAT marketing campaign, our digital activity on Facebook and Twitter and by inviting foreign travel journalists to write about Britain.

"This work is now paying off with post Games visitor figures significantly up on last year, and prospects for 2013 looking strong.

"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."

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