Capital wins global vote for being safe, clean and friendly

EDINBURGH is seen around the world as one of the safest, cleanest and friendliest cities, according to a major international study.

Edinburgh was judged against 59 other leading cities for the Cities Brand Index Study, which questioned 15,000 people in 20 countries.

The Capital was rated highly on several counts, including how safe people would expect to feel as visitors, and how friendly they thought their welcome would be.

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Edinburgh Castle and other tourist attractions meant the city scored well in the attractiveness category, finishing 19th out of the 60 cities. Paris was judged the world's most attractive city.

On a general approval rating, Edinburgh came out 30th, ahead of Moscow, Johannesburg, Beijing and Prague. Sydney came out top overall, followed by London, Paris, Rome and New York.

However, concerns were raised today about some aspects of how the city is seen around the world, with Edinburgh ranked lower than expected as a place to do business and gain higher education qualifications.

Branding experts today said the Capital had done well given its size, and the strength of the competition, but warned it was struggling with a lack of respect beyond the booming tourism industry, which could threaten further investment in the city.

City leaders hailed the overall results of the survey as good news for Edinburgh. Council leader Ewan Aitken said: "Edinburgh is once again increasing its international significance as a major international capital city.

"Achieving recognition and acclaim in world terms is a tremendous challenge, placing us in direct competition with the world's biggest and best cities.

"It does, however, reaffirm the intense competition between cities for jobs, investment and recognition. So, while Edinburgh benefits from a strong international brand image, there is room for improvement."

Edinburgh was the only British city apart from London to be represented in the survey.

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Simon Anholt, the creator of the Cities Brand Index, said: "One thing that came out of the survey was that around 70 per cent of those surveyed knew something about Edinburgh, which is quite good given the general level of ignorance about where places are worldwide. The business ranking is a problem because if people internationally don't think the city is on the radar then it will struggle to attract investment.

If Edinburgh's education and business worlds are not taken seriously then the Sir Walter Scott and shortbread identity will persist. These factors are important because they will drive growth in the city and also improve its worldwide stature.

"The brand image of a city is deeply rooted in its history and landmarks, which is why Edinburgh has done reasonably well.

"The one thing our survey has taught us is that the brand image of the city generally has nothing to do with advertising because every city in the world is shouting about what they are doing. There is definitely scope - in places such as Russia and Brazil, where the history of the UK and Edinburgh is not as well known - to get the city's message across."

Organisers chose 60 cities which had made a conscious effort to improve their brand identity.

Edinburgh was ranked 13th for cleanliness and for safety, and was last year crowned Scotland's cleanest in the Clean Britain Awards. In 2005, city leaders launched the Inspiring Capital campaign to promote Edinburgh as a visitor attraction.


Categories where Edinburgh did well:

How welcome do you think people in general would make you feel in the city? 19th out of 60 cities

• How safe would you feel in the city? 13th

• How clean do you think the city is? 13th

• How easy you think it would be to find satisfactory, affordable accommodation in the city? 11th

Categories where Edinburgh did less well:

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• Whether or not you have visited the city, please tell us how much you know about it. 45th

• From what you know about the city, how important has its contribution to the world been in the last 30 years? 47th

• How easy do you think it would be to find interesting things to fill a week of free time in the city? 32nd

• If you lived in the city, do you think there would always be new things to discover, or would you become bored with it after a while? 34th

• If you had a business, how good a place would it be in which to do business? 36th

• If you, or a member of your family, wanted to go abroad to get a good higher educational qualification, how good a city do you think it would be for that? 24th