Canada: Paradise on Earth?

Canada ranked behind only the United Kingdom and Switzerland as the most desirable
place to visit, according to a global study by leading image and nation-branding
consultant and author of Brand America, Simon Anholt.

Speaking at the Rendez-vous Canada tourism industry event, Mr. Anholt said
that the image of Canada among global respondents “is almost spookily
positive.” In fact, he said the study’s findings were positive in
every category except for one — “cultural heritage.”

Anholt, who currently serves as an advisor to the British government, developed
a quarterly National Brand Index which provides a global rating of the image
of 35 countries based on surveys of nearly 30,000 people around the

Anholt’s National Brand Index measures consumer perceptions in six key
areas: exports, governance, investment and immigration, culture and heritage,
people and tourism. While Canada ranked as the number one nation for the image
of its people and scored in the top three for natural beauty, human rights,
fair government and immigration, the country ranked poorly in cultural heritage.

“It [Canada] doesn’t he coliseums or pyramids,” said Anholt,
who has worked as a consultant to governments in the Netherlands, New Zealand,
Switzerland, the United States and Sweden, among dozens of others,

Canada’s third place ranking is a major improvement from the last survey
in 2005 when Canada placed ninth. The United States ranked third in the last
survey, but this time around slipped to 10th place.

And as reported in the National Post, findings indicated that the
strongest word associations for Canadians were: trustworthy, honest, modern,
competent and hard-working.

The main product associated with Canada was high technology. Other cultural
products that ranked highly were sports, films, museums, pop videos, classical
sculpture and the circus.

“Apart from that [cultural heritage], everything else was so high you
begin to get suspicious,” Anholt said. “Canada is viewed as paradise
on Earth.”

When respondents were asked “If money were no object, where would you
go?” Canada placed third, behind Australia and Italy, said Anholt.

According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, the top ten ranked countries

1. United Kingdom

2. Switzerland

3. Canada

4. Italy

5. Sweden

6. Germany

7. Japan

8. France

9. Australia

10. United States