Ariel view of 1st Interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai continues to gain stronger popularity in the international community after climbing six places to 41st on the list of most reputable cites in the world, a survey by a reputation-based advisory firm showed.

The 2013 City RepTrak, which surveyed more than 22,000 people from the G8 countries between January and February this year, showed Dubai overtaking cities like Brisbane, Seattle, New Orleans and Houston, which were ahead of the emirate in last year’s survey. Earning a score of 66.6, the city maintained its lead over Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Singapore.

The results of the study, which annually ranks the world’s 100 most reputable cities based on levels of trust, esteem admiration and respect, was announced last week. Sydney emerged top, followed by Toronto, Stockholm, Vienna and Venice in the top five.

Just like in last year’s survey, Dubai is the only city in the Middle East that made it into the top 50, making it the most reputable city in the region. Abu Dhabi is ranked 63rd, while Riyadh and Mecca occupied the 85th and 86th places respectively.

Dubai’s significant showing will provide a great impetus to the city’s bid to host Expo 2020. According to reputation experts, people’s perceptions of a city can impact the economy. Those that enjoy a good reputation tend to attract more tourists, investments and talent, among others.

“People have images of a city on their mind when they are deciding to go on holiday there, to live or work there, or to buy products originated there,” said Fernando Prado, responsible for the Place Reputation Unit of Reputation Institute. “Our modelling demonstrates that a city that knows how to effectively manage its reputation can attract more tourists, greater investment or a bigger influx of talent.”

Prado said the results of the study also demonstrated that neither the population size nor the gross domestic product of a city is an essential factor in the construction of a good reputation.

The other factors that can affect a city’s reputation also include the beauty of the urban environment, safety, entertainment and standard of living. The size of a city can also be influential, while social, political or cultural factors may also play a role.

“The larger a city is, the more complicated it becomes to manage,” Prado said. “This is one of the reasons that explain why, with the exception of London, the top 10 in the RepTrak study features only medium-sized cities. Our study shows us that those managing cities also need to pay attention to the finer details that ultimately define the relationship with stakeholders, rather than focus solely on the headline figures of tourist arrivals or product sales.”

In last year’s survey, Dubai and Abu Dhabi emerged as the top two cities to invest in, beating Zurich, Geneva and New York. In the latest survey, the title went to New York and Zurich. Venice became this year’s top city to visit, while Sydney was named the top city to live in.