Spain Country Performance, Nation Brand Strength and Reputation

Spain’s Nation Brand reflects a captivating fusion of history, culture, and a lively lifestyle. Its iconic landmarks, rich legacy, coupled with its dedication to preserving traditions, enhances its international reputation as a cultural treasure trove solidifying its status as a highly desirable destination.

So how well does Spain perform as nation brand? How attractive is it as place to do business and to live in? What about its environmental sustainability and soft power? Let’s explore how Spain positions itself on the world stage, drawing insights from data provided by TPBO partners and other reputable institutions.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Spain’s soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Spain’s soft power and brand strength

How does Spain compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally? 

In the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance, Spain secures the 12th spot, slightly trailing the UAE (10th) and Sweden (9th). Spain’s position has dropped one position since last year, although its score has increased from 53 in 2022 to 54.9 this year.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, Spain secured the 17th position, behind Italy (15th) and Singapore (16th). Notably, Spain excels in three key areas: heritage (3rd) assessing cultural accessibility, richness of history, food quality and geographic/cultural attractions, cultural influence (4th) which analyzes trendiness, modernity, and strength of consumer brands; and adventure (4th) which examines the level of friendliness, good for tourism, scenic beauty, pleasant climate, and overall sexiness . However, Spain dropped one position from 2022, with lowest scores in movers and open for business factors.

The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index (NBI) calculates its ranking based on averaging the scores of six different factors: exports, governance, tourism, culture, people and immigration, and tourism. According to the NBI 2023 ranking Spain secures the 11th position, placing the same as in 2022.

Spain has been improving its economic performance since the last economic crisis that affected the country’s image, especially when it comes to its attractiveness for investors. The Global Competitiveness Index ranks Spain 34th. This is one position lower than the previous year but similar to its performance in earlier years: it ranked 36th in both 2012 and 2013.

The Ease of Doing Business study places Spain in the 30th position. The country ranks high in some categories, such as resolving insolvency or trading across borders. However, it shows a poor performance in areas such as starting a business, getting credit or dealing with permits.

Talent in Spain

Is Spain a competitive country when it comes to talent?

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed Spain at the 23rd position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past 5 years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

Spain, classified as a high-income country within the European regional group, currently holds the 29th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Notably, Spain performs most remarkably in the Retain pillar where it holds the 17th position and its main challenge is the VT skills pillar where it ranked 63rd.

Spain’s appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel 

What is the global perception of Spain as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks Spain in 2nd position out of 53 countries, below Mexico. Spain’s most remarkable factors include: the Quality of Life metric which Spain leads, the Leisure Options, and Culture and Welcome metric where the country ranked 2nd.

As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023, Spain secures the 12th position for FDI inflows in 2022, trailing behind France (10th) and Mexico (11th). This marks an impressive jump from its 2021 ranking where the country held the 17th. In terms of outflows, Spain secured the 13th position, which is again an impressive improvement from last year’s ranking where the country positioned 52nd. This impressive jump can be attributed to the increased investment of Spanish MNEs this past year.

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, Spain placed 8th behind Italy (7th) and above Turkey (9th), a drop of two positions. Globally, Spain secures the 17th position, a drop of three positions since the previous report. This success can be attributed to slight increases in both Net FDI and social media performance. The country’s decreased performance is most likely due to challenges in forming a stable government, and the political instability induced by Catalan separatist movement. However, Bloom Consulting argues that Spain’s appeal as an investment location remains high and will bounce back.

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Spain at the 1st global position, jumping two positions from the previous ranking, this is huge for the country as it has surpassed the USA who held the 1st position for many years. Spain is in the lead for touristic receipts and scored highly for D2 – Digital Demand © and social media presence. Substantial digital appeal during the public health crisis has led Spain to continue to show constant growth. With its current CBS Rating © (“A”), Spain still has room to improve and the potential to maintain its prime position in the next editions of the ranking.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, Spain secured the 36th position, showing a consistency with previous rankings. Currently, it sits just behind Indonesia (34th) and Japan (35th) while surpassing Kazakhstan (37th) and Kuwait (38th). In terms of specific characteristics, Spain’s economic performance jumped three positions to the 32nd spot in 2023. It holds the 51st position for government efficiency, experiencing a drop of one position compared to 2022. Lastly, Spain jumped three positions to the 37th position for business efficiency, and holds the 27th spot for infrastructure, dropping two positions since 2022.

According to the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Spain belongs to the third group, Moderate Innovators, whereas Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden are Innovation Leaders in the region. Spain’s performance has increased by 9.7 points during the period between 2016 and 2023. Its performance increased most in 2023 due to improved performance on SMEs with product innovations and business process innovations, as well as Sales of innovative products. However, its weaknesses are: Employment in innovative enterprises, Business process innovators, R&D expenditure in the business sector, Innovation expenditures per employee and Government support for business R&D.

How “good” is Spain?

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, Spain secured the 86th position. The country’s top performance is in the Helping a Stranger factor where 55% of its adult population helped a stranger in the last year. This is a great jump for Spain as in last year’s ranking it placed 99th.

In the Good Country Index, Spain currently holds the 13th position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (42nd), Culture (12th), International Peace & Security (28th), World Order (18th), Planet & Climate (33rd), Prosperity & Equality (10th), and Health & Wellbeing (28th). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, Spain was ranked 9th, and in 2021, it held the 10th position. While the country has experienced a three point drop since the 2022 ranking, there has been a significant increase in the Prosperity & Equality and Culture factors.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Spain ranked in the blue zone (8-9 range) with a 8.07 out of 10. This is higher than Portugal who scored a 7.75 but lower than the United Kingdom who scored 8.28.

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index ranks Spain 35th with a score of 60/100, tying with Botswana, Cabo Verde and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Spain’s score has dropped one position in 2021. The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Spain in 16th position, it highlights that Spain continues to face some challenges. However, the country is on track with the Gender Equality factor.

Spain and sustainability

Is Spain a “green” country?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Spain 27th, sitting between New Zealand (26th) and the Bahamas (28th). The EPI analyzes the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Italy has experienced a change in score of positive 7.30.

Peace and happiness in Spain

Is Spain a happy and safe place to invest time and money in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Spain 32nd, remaining consistent from last years’ index. Spain sits behind Bulgaria (30th), and Romania (31st). Spain falls under the high sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Spain positioned 23rd regionally amongst its fellow European countries, led by Iceland and Denmark.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks Spain within the medium impact (light orange) zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. Spain ranks 60th, sitting in between Belgium (59th) and Austria (61st).

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks Spain 32nd.

Last updated in October 2023. More country profiles here.

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