Maybe it’s the city’s growing reputation for harboring increasingly
aggressive pickpockets and petty thieves. Or its reputation for rudeness. But
the City of Light, one of the most visited cities in the world, has been knocked
off its perch as “best city in the world” by London and Sydney in a new index
released this week.
According to the latest edition of the Anholt-GfK City Brands Index which measures a
city’s brand image, power and appeal, London’s stock has gone up in the world as
it took the top spot in the biennial ranking.
Possible reasons could include the fact that the city continues to bask in
the afterglow of a successful Summer Olympic Games and has maintained a presence
in the international spotlight with a string of historic milestones that include
the Queen’s Coronation ceremony and the highly anticipated birth of a new royal
with the arrival of Prince George.
London also took the top spot as the city where individual cultures are
appreciated and where foreigners can "easily fit in."
The Aussie capital of Sydney, meanwhile, enjoys a stellar reputation around
the world for being the safest and friendliest city.
The City Brands index measures the value of a city’s international reputation
across six dimensions: its international status and standing; esthetic; a
category called “pre-requisites” such as affordable accommodations and the
standard of public amenities; people; pulse (interesting things to do) and its
economic and educational potential.
More than 5,140 interviews were conducted in Australia, Brazil, China,
France, Germany, India, Russia, South Korea, the US and the UK for the
And while Paris was able to take the top spot in the category of Pulse, where
the city failed to crack the top 10 ranking was in categories such as Friendly
People and Safety.
This summer, in a bid to shed their longstanding image of being rude and
surly, the city’s chamber of commerce published an etiquette manual for Parisian
restaurateurs, taxi drivers and sales staff on how to welcome international
“...despite its indisputable charm, the capital has work to do when it comes
to welcoming visitors,” the chamber admits.
And earlier this year, high-profile muggings of Chinese tourists robbed of
their passports, plane tickets and cash shortly after landing in Paris tarnished
the city’s image, as did footage broadcast worldwide of soccer-related riots
which broke out not far from the Eiffel Tower.
Meanwhile, other notable movements on the index include Tokyo, which suffered
a 7-spot drop from tenth place in 2011 to 17th place in 2013. Amsterdam,
meanwhile, shot up the ranks from 17th spot to 11th position this year.
And while Rio de Janeiro was ranked the third friendliest city on the list,
the city fell to the bottom of the heap when it comes to safety (47 out of 50)
-- a particular concern given it's set to host the World Cup and the Summer
Olympics, the report points out.
Here are the top 10 “best cities” for 2013:
4. New York
7. Los Angeles