The UK has overtaken France to become the third most admired destination globally, thanks in part to its attractiveness as a tourist destination.
The findings were revealed in the latest Anholt-GFK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI), released this week.
The UK is also one of the few countries to feature in the top six slots within each of the six brand measurements that the NBI analyses annually.
Britain's enhanced standing on the world stage has been buoyed by respondents' views on it as a tourist destination, particularly because of the appeal of its rich historic landmarks and vibrant city life. It has also improved its aspirational appeal for overseas markets, with visitors more likely to make the journey to the UK if money was no object.
Along with these gains, the UK has also enjoyed success for the third consecutive year in being seen as an interesting and exciting place for contemporary culture, jumping up two spots to fourth place with music, films, art, literature and sports all areas strongly associated with the British.
Welcoming the latest findings, VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said: "This year's NBI report provides yet another insightful score-card for the UK. It shows that the overwhelming perception of Britain by overseas visitors is positive and that our image is improving significantly in many of the countries in which we operate around the world.
"Particularly encouraging is the news that China and India - two vital markets offering long-term growth potential for inbound tourism - rank the UK very highly as an aspirational destination. It is our ambition to attract an additional four million overseas visitors over the next four years, and that will mean turning these positive perceptions into new arrivals.
Despite progress being seen in the perceived welcome by Brits (ranked 12th, up one slot from 2010), questions still remain on how warm that welcome is and what can be done to improve the UK's overall friendliness.
By Neil Gerrard
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