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Travel and Hospitality|Brand and Customer Experience|Public Communications and Social Science|United Kingdom|English

London holds steady as 2nd highest-rated city in the world

London, 30.01.2018

Latest results of the Anholt-GfK City Brands Index

London, 30 January 2018 – In the latest Anholt-GfK City Brands IndexSM (CBI), London continues to be the second highest scoring city out of 50 cities around the world, while Dublin and Edinburgh fall just outside the top half, coming in at 26th and 29th respectively. 

London is ranked most highly for ‘potential’ (the economic and educational opportunities available) where comes 1st of all 50 cities, ‘presence’ (international status and standing) where it comes 2nd and ‘pulse’ (interesting things to do), where it comes 3rd. It is rated least highly for ‘place’ (outdoors aspect and transport), where it comes just 15th.  

Dublin’s and Edinburgh’s performance in the rankings is hindered by their lack of familiarity in the international eyes, as their CBI ranking is better than their name recognition. Being lesser known has not stopped them from improving their international perception, though – with both Dublin and Edinburgh posting large score gains (1.61 and 1.18, respectively) since 2015, allowing Dublin to overtake both Dubai and Chicago.

Top ten cities

Paris retains its position at the top of the CBI ranking, holding onto its narrow lead over London. Sydney (3rd) and New York (4th) have swapped positions since 2015, fueled by Sydney’s greater overall score increase. Los Angeles and Rome hold steady in 5th and 6th place, respectively, whereas Melbourne’s large score increase of 1.64 points has allowed it to jump two places, from 9th in 2015 to 7th place now – overtaking both Amsterdam (8th) and Belin (10th). San Francisco, a new entry in CBI, comes straight in at 9th – giving America three cities in the top ten.


Anholt-GfK City Brands Index
2017 rankCity2015 rankScore change 2017 vs. 2015
4New York3+0.67
5Los Angeles5+0.91
9San Franciscon/an/a
CBI scores range from 1-100. Score changes: small: +/-0.26-0.50; medium: +/-0.51-1.00; large: > +/-1.00

CBI is a biennial study, most recently conducted in September and October of 2017. The study evaluates the power and appeal of each city’s image, providing a holistic and detailed perspective based on six key dimensions: 

  • Presence (the city’s international status and standing)
  • Place (its physical outdoors aspect and transport)
  • Prerequisites (basic requirements, such as affordable accommodations and the standard of public amenities)
  • People (friendliness, cultural diversity, how safe one feels)
  • Pulse (interesting things to do)
  • Potential (the economic and educational opportunities available)

Vadim Volos, senior vice president of Social and Strategic Research at GfK, comments. “Cities cannot rest on their nation’s brand when it comes to how they are perceived in the eyes of the world - they must cultivate their own unique images as well. Berlin is a prime example of this: just managing to hold onto a spot within the top-tier of cities, despite Germany taking the top ranking in the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index 2017.”

Western cities tend to dominate the top half of cities, and in previous years, Western cities benefitted noticeably more than Eastern cities in the global public’s estimations. 2017 shows a change in fortunes with marked improvement for many that is not constrained by region or developmental stage.

For example, Tokyo is one of only a handful of non-Western cities that resides within the top half of cities. After experiencing a score decline in 2013, Tokyo has rebuilt and grown its image in the two consecutive CBI studies. Tokyo enjoys the greatest score gain of any city (+1.79) in 2017’s CBI to draw to a tie for 11th position with Vancouver, surpassing Madrid, Barcelona, Washington D.C., Toronto, and Vienna.

Looking at CBI’s Middle Eastern and African regions, Dubai is the only city within this region measured that does not rest within the bottom tier of cities. Dubai falls narrowly outside the top half (27th), with its Presence (15th) and Place (16th) rankings anchoring and propelling its image. Though Dubai is the city within the region with the best reputation, Durban wins the award for most improved (+1.51), which allows it to surpass Cairo. 

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About the study

The Anholt-GfK CBISM is run once every two years and measures the image of 50 cities with respect to Presence, Place, Prerequisites, People, Pulse, and Potential.

For the 2017 study, 5,057 interviews were conducted across 10 countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, South Korea, UK, and USA), with at least 500 interviews per country.

Adults aged 18 or over were interviewed online in each country. Using the most up-to-date online population parameters, the achieved sample in each country is weighted to reflect key demographic characteristics including age, gender, and education of the online population in that country.

Fieldwork was conducted from 20 September to 3 October 2017.

The 50 cities ranked in the survey are as follows:

Western Europe: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, Edinburgh, Geneva, London, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm 

Central/Eastern Europe: Istanbul, Moscow, Prague, Vienna, Warsaw 

Asia Pacific: Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta*, Melbourne, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo 

North America: Boston*, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco*, Toronto, Vancouver*, Washington D.C. 

Latin America: Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile* 

Middle East/Africa: Cairo, Cape Town, Doha, Dubai, Durban, Johannesburg

*Cities new to the CBI 2017 are denoted with an asterisk.

About Simon Anholt 

Simon Anholt is recognized as the world’s leading authority on national image and identity. Professor Anholt was Vice-Chair of the UK Government’s Public Diplomacy Board, and works as an independent policy advisor to the Heads of State and Heads of Government of more than 50 other countries. Anholt developed the concept of the Nation Brands IndexSM and the City Brands IndexSM in 2005.

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