The UAE has for the first time entered the top 10 of an influential world rankings list.
The country moved up to ninth on FutureBrand’s Country Index for 2020, with Dubai also being placed in the same spot in its similar list for key cities.
Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia are other Middle East nations rising on the country list.
Rankings are drawn up on how people perceive countries, based on qualitative and quantitative data, and include reflections from people living in each country.
It said the UAE was one of the Middle East’s most important economic centres. It called the Emirates "a regional powerhouse, this small but ambitious nation is most definitely one to watch".
Among the findings, 55 per cent of people want to visit the UAE in the next five years, an insight for a potential tourist boom after the Covid-19 lockdowns.
In the UAE, 71 per cent of respondents were positive about the country’s handling of the pandemic, with clear government communication cited as a key factor.
“It’s progressing forward very fast in technology, transportation, business etc. People from all over the world work in the UAE. The people are friendly and welcoming," one respondent said.
Japan stays in the number 1 spot while New Zealand in 10th is the other new entry in the top 10.
The full top 10 for countries comprises:
10: New Zealand
The index also shows the growing global confidence in the Middle East and Africa regions. Angola, Kenya and Algeria emerged as three of the top five risers globally.
The data also looked at how countries handled coronavirus outbreaks.
When asked which countries had best handled the pandemic, New Zealand, China and Germany were the top three.
The top 10 cities are:
1: New York