.Vancouver tickets (Small)November 5 - Canada has leapfrogged the United States to become the world's number one country brand thanks in large part to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, proving beyond doubt the benefits of hosting a major international sporting event such as the Games.

Using techniques such as handing stunning coast-to-coast video shots to international broadcasters the country has emerged as powerful, engaging and vibrant in an intensely competitive international tourism marketplace.

The ranking, from the Country Brand Index by FutureBrand, will not have gone unnoticed by London as it ramps up its preparation for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Michele McKenzie, President and chief executive officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), will be present at the formal awards ceremony, at the 31st annual World Travel Market in London next Thursday (November 11).

"Several years ago, CTC set out to refresh Canada's tourism brand in anticipation of being on the world stage in 2010," said McKenzie.

"We believed that - with the right strategy - a legacy of the Games could be more interest in Canada as a travel destination, and ultimately more visitors.

"The CTC and our partners seized the once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by the Games to showcase Canada's tourism brand internationally."

Vancouver 2010 officials claim as many as 3.5 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to watch the Olympics February 12-28.


The Games were shown on more than 300 TV stations and more than 100 websites around the world with a total of about 50,000 hours of broadcast hours of the Games across all media platforms.

The 24,000 hours of television coverage alone was about 47 per cent more than for the Turin Winter Olympic Games just four years earlier.

The CTC's Olympic strategy, which runs to the end of 2012, was funded by a $26 million (£16 million) investment from the Federal Government.

After launching the revitalised tourism brand - "Canada. Keep exploring" - six years ago, Canada leapfrogged from 12th place in 2006 to sixth place in 2007, and jumped again to second place in 2008, a position it held again in 2009.

"Initial results of the CTC's marketing campaigns conducted before, during and after the Games indicate that the number of trips booked has increased over 2009 as a result of the awareness created of Canada as a top-ranked travel destination," said McKenzie.