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WE’RE NO. 1: Canada ranked world’s best country

For the first time, Canada has taken top spot overall in the “2021 Best Countries Report,” a prominent ranking and analysis project that is designed to determine how countries are perceived by international business leaders and general citizens on the world stage.

Beyond its overall top ranking, Canada, which placed 2nd overall in 2020, ranked No. 1 in quality of life and social purpose. It is also perceived as having a good job market and entrepreneurial atmosphere, caring about human rights, and is committed to social justice (including second for racial equality and 4th for women). Additionally, the country finished No. 1 in being viewed as not corrupt and respecting property rights.

In other categories of note, Canada was considered the 12th most powerful country in the world; the 3rd most agile country, i.e. “most adaptable, dynamic, modern, progressive and responsive”; and 14th in cultural influence.

Conducted by US News & World Report in conjunction with BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the project, which included a survey of 17,000 people “representative of their country,” considered cultural, economic, political, and technological influences as well as new categories, social purpose, and agility. The report also took into account the transformational nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventy-eight countries were included in report, which saw last year’s winner, Switzerland, drop to fourth overall.

The top 10 were:

1. Canada
2. Japan
3. Germany
4. Switzerland
5. Australia
6. the US
7. New Zealand
8. UK
9. Sweden
10. The Netherlands.

“Nations are impacted on many critical fronts by how they are perceived globally – from foreign relations to international business to tourism. These perceptions are ever-evolving in a rapidly changing world,” says Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer at US News.

David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the Wharton School, adds, “Countries should care about their image – it is not just a beauty contest. The impressions others have of a country affects its economy through tourism, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment.”

Among the reports key takeaways are:

• Social justice is a global ambition. Eighty percent of global citizens feel aligned with social justice, a broad term that refers to movements calling for addressing racial and gender inequities, while 76% also agree that a country is stronger when it is more racially and ethnically diverse. Canada and the Nordic countries are viewed as the most committed to social justice, while the US sits at No. 18. And on the specific topic of racial equality, the US only manages to achieve No. 69, behind both China and Iraq.

• Women are viewed as effective leaders. 83% of global citizens believe there is a leadership crisis in the world today. The majority of respondents view women leaders in a positive light, as 68% agree that countries led by women tend to be better managed.

• A nation’s perceived agility is the most important driver of strength in 2021. Across the countries measured, agility accounts for per capita GDP variations the most – underscoring that it is essential for any country to be seen as adaptable, progressive and responsive. The new Agility subranking carries the greatest weight among the 10 sub rankings.

• The influence of conspiracy theories” A majority of respondents (75%) agree that conspiracy theories are a threat to society. However, 39% believe that governments have made up the COVID-19 pandemic to control their citizens.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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