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Press|Travel and Hospitality|Norway|English

Paris wins back ‘most admired city’ from London

Nuremberg, 19.01.2016

Paris, London and New York are top three cities for overall positive image; Berlin and Amsterdam make top 10 for first time; Vienna pushed out of the top 10.

Nuremberg, January 19, 2016 – Paris has pushed London off the top spot to win back the number one place as the highest rated city in 2015, out of a total of 50 cities. Sydney, which had been in the top three since 2011, falls back to fourth place, overtaken by New York as well as Paris.

Anholt-GfK CBISM overall ranking

2015 rank2013 rank2011 rank
3New York44
5Los Angeles75
10Washington DC67

These are the findings of the latest Anholt-GfK City Brands IndexSM (CBISM), a bi-annual study conducted in September of last year –approximately two months before the November attacks in Paris.

Simon Anholt, an independent government advisor and the creator of the Index, comments, “Our survey was conducted before the November attacks in Paris – but, if past experience is anything to go by, such attacks do not change people’s perceptions of the city in any significant or long-lasting way. There may be a temporary change in people’s behaviour towards Paris – but the attacks do not affect the reasons why people might admire the city’s beauty, cultural life, opportunities, etc. and this is what CBI measures.”

The study evaluates the power and appeal of each city’s image, giving 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)
  • Pre-requisites (basic requirements, such as affordable accommodation 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)

Paris shows one of the largest score gains overall, surpassing Sydney and London to take the number one spot, having previously fallen from first in 2011 to third in 2013.  

Two other major climbers in the top 10 are Berlin and Amsterdam. Berlin jumps past Amsterdam, Melbourne, Vienna, Toronto and Washington D.C. for a comfortable spot in seventh place (up from twelfth in 2013). Amsterdam now ranks eighth, up from eleventh place in 2013, having also overtaken Melbourne, Vienna, Toronto and Washington D.C. As a result, Washington D.C. now sits on the very edge of the elite top 10 cities, in tenth place, down from sixth in 2013. And Toronto and Vienna are pushed outside the top 10, to stand eleventh and thirteenth respectively.

Breakdown by key dimensions

Looking at the six dimensions that make up the overall index, London, Paris and New York are seen as the top three cities for having strong international Presence. When it comes to Place, Paris leads the ranking, followed by Sydney and Rome. For Prerequisites, Sydney is ranked top, with Berlin second and Amsterdam third. Sydney is also ranked first for People, with Toronto and Amsterdam making up the top three – while Paris, New York and London are ranked highest for their Pulse. Finally, for Potential, we see New York in the lead, with London second and Sydney third.

Vadim Volos, GfK’s senior vice president of public affairs and consulting, and head of NBISM at GfK, comments, “The top three overall cities – Paris, London and New York – lose ground when it comes to the specific dimensions of Prerequisites and People. This enables cities that are ranked lower overall – such as Toronto, Berlin and Amsterdam - to win top-five spots in these specific dimensions, giving them a valuable foothold in the international arena.”  

Berlin (seventh in the overall Index) jumps in at second for Prerequisites, while Amsterdam (eighth overall), wins third place for both People and Prerequisites, and Toronto (eleventh overall) holds second and fifth on these two areas. Barcelona and Vienna (twelfth and thirteenth overall) are ranked fourth and fifth respectively for Place.

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Information for editors

About the Anholt-GfK City Brands IndexSM 2015:

The Anholt-GfK CBISM Index measures the image of 50 cities with respect to Presence, Place, Pre-requisite, People, Pulse and Potential.  For the 2015 study, 5166 interviews were conducted in total, consisting of at least 500 interviews in each of Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, South Korea, UK and USA. Adults aged 18 or over are interviewed online in each country.  Using the most up-to-date online population parameters, the achieved sample in each country has been weighted to reflect key demographic characteristics including age, gender, and education of the online population in that country.  Fieldwork was conducted from September 10th to 23rd, 2015.

The 50 cities ranked in the survey are as follows:

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

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

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

North America: Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, Washington D.C., Dallas Fort Worth*, Houston*

Latin America: Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro

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

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 for several years, and has worked 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.  He is President of the Anholt Institute in Copenhagen and the founder and Editor Emeritus of the quarterly journal, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, as well as author of Brand New Justice, Brand America, Competitive Identity, and Places: Image, Identity, Reputation. Anholt was awarded the 2009 Nobels Colloquia Prize for Economics and an Honorary Professorship in Political Science by the University of East Anglia in 2013.

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