Spain maintains its international prestige despite the pandemic


According to the president of the Elcano Royal Institute, Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, “the image is important because humans act based on how we perceive things, not how they are. We live in image societies. All states compete with each other to give the best image of themselves in this globalized world. Everything that circulates in this world is haloed by the state of origin, it is connoted in the first place. The country brand is essential. “For this reason, since 2009 this study has been carried out annually.

Regarding the Spain brand, he assures, several things must be taken into account: it exists, it must not be built, it is strong and marked, it is not a threatening country; It is a strongly stereotyped image, which sometimes makes it distorted because the ideas with which it is associated with Spain are: sun, party, bullfighting, tourism, beach … and although it may surprise, it still the bull is the image with which we are most markedly associated.

International media covers, during the previous crisis, talking about Spain.

Spain’s reputation has strengths such as language, culture, heritage, joy, vitality, art … But also weak points: It is a rough country, Europe begins in the Pyrenees, it is cheap … good for living or going on vacation but not recommended for working, for example.

The main conclusion of the new study is that the prestige of Spain has not changed compared to February-March 2019, and Spain is in the 13th place in the Top 20 according to the assessments made of it by the former G8 countries (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan).

Spain is valued above countries such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The second graph shows the situation of Spain with respect to the total number of countries studied. During the past crisis it dropped some positions, to eighteenth place, never leaving the Top 20 according to Carmen Gonzalez, Director of the Spanish Image Observatory of the Elcano Royal Institute and Professor of Political Science at UNED.

The countries that best value Spain are the countries that play an important role as tourist source marketsWith the exception of Russia: the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France … on the other hand, the valuation is lower in countries with which Spain has a migratory relationship, such as Morocco or Colombia. He UK It is the country whose inhabitants give Spain the best reputation.

In the countries of Latin America the prestige of Spain is lower than in the former G8 countries, according to the study, “although the difference was greater in the past and has been reduced,” Carmen González clarifies. However, the image of Spain in Latin American countries is better than the image that those countries have of themselves.

The kings of “soft”

Spain is perceived in the former G8 countries very positively in “soft” aspects, in which it surpasses those same countries: friendliness, lifestyle, leisure and entertainment, natural environment… also in security, which is a very important aspect. However, the citizens of those countries value Spain below themselves in “hard” aspects such as technology, large companies, ethics and transparency or the economic environment.

The promoters of the study consider that there is an important fact: Recommendations on Spain, specifically to visit the country, fell three points compared to the 2019 survey. However, on a scale of zero to 100, and taking into account that the study was conducted in the harshest months of the pandemic, this three-point decline is considered insignificant.

How are we doing self esteem

What Spaniards value most about themselves is the same thing that the inhabitants of the former G8 countries value about Spain: environment, sympathy, joy… and the institutional elements, for some and for others, are the weakest.

It is remarkable that the only two aspects that suspend are as important as the efficient use of resources and ethics and transparency.

The self-esteem of the Spanish is above the external evaluation, although very close for the first time, according to the study. 76.5 points for internal reputation, while in the former G8 countries, it does not reach 70 points.

The conclusions of the study are that the international prestige of Spain it remains at the same level as in 2019. The attributes where it is weakest, the so-called “hard” elements, increase more than the others, the “soft” ones, where Spain is always stronger. Equally, Spaniards regain their self-esteem. And finally, the political system it continues to be the main reason for self-criticism for Spaniards, although Spanish democracy is well valued outside our borders.

And regarding tourism: “We must be optimistic about the recovery of tourism, because a drop of 3 points out of 100 in travel recommendations is an insignificant figure”, and that in the toughest months of the pandemic, González recalls

Would the results have been worse because of the sprouts?

We cannot give an answer with certaintyThe only way would be to do the survey now, but we will do it next year, with more perspective on the evolution of the epidemic. The vaccine will be decisive. In the 2021 survey, which will be in February or March, we will see if the management of the epidemic or its effects have influenced the results and how much, “answers Carmen González.

And it explains that the score obtained by the different countries in the 2019 and 2020 surveys does not seem to have any relation to how they have managed the epidemic, and that this factor has not affected the evolution of its international prestige.

For example, almost everyone will agree that The US and Brazil have mismanaged the pandemic And yet, González explains, they see a small improvement in their international prestige. On the other hand, a model country like New Zealand, this year obtains the same score as in 2019. As in the case of Spain.

Alone China drops significantly in its international prestige, “which has to do with the fact of being the origin of the current epidemic”, and not with the management that has been made of it.

“My impression is that when a country is judged, since there is no specific question about the management of the epidemic, because it is not the objective, that specific element does not have a very important weight in the global reputation of that country. It can change the decision to visit a country or not, but even that we have seen is a small percentage “, in reference to the 3% decrease registered by Spain