The UK’s cultural offering is the country’s most appealing feature for young people visiting from abroad, according to a new survey.
More than a third of 18 to 34 year olds from Brazil, China, Germany India and the US that were surveyed said that culture “particularly contributed” to making the UK attractive. This was in comparison to other factors such as the economy, society and educational offer.
Of the 5,000 young people taking part in the research – called As Others See Us – historical buildings were ranked the most appealing cultural feature, while arts institutions came second.
Shakespeare was the most frequently cited figure associated with the UK cultural sector, followed by the Queen and David Beckham.
“It is perhaps not surprising that Shakespeare was identified by so many respondents, given his iconic global status as one of the writers who produced some of the most profound and enduring works,” said the report, which was commissioned by the British Council.
It added: “While as a person he can hardly be considered ‘contemporary’ (which the question explicitly referred to), his cultural value certainly is contemporary as he is still amongst the most widely read and studied British authors globally.”
Of the 15 countries with the largest economies in the world, the participants – plus 1,000 additional young people surveyed from the UK – said that France was the most attractive place as a source of arts and culture, followed by Italy, the US and then the UK.
In its recommendations, the report said the UK should continue to invest in its “excellent arts and cultural institutions” as well as historic attractions, arts sector and education system. These are areas that are “significant drivers of international attractiveness,” it said.
In particular, the country should invest in the creative sector to “secure the skills to attract international talent and collaboration and maintain the capacity for excellence in the future,” added the report.