With a global television audience of about 4 billion expected for the Olympic Games being held this year in London, the UK has been busy showcasing itself as a tourism destination.
The promotional agency VisitBritain built a four-year marketing campaign around the Games. The drive, which began last year, is expected to cost more than £100 million (Dh580m).
Major sporting events provide a chance for cities and countries to promote themselves and attract more visitors. The Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix has helped to generate global exposure for the emirate, while Qatar's selection to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup has already increased global interest in the tiny country. Qatar has also put in a bid to host the Olympics in 2020.
But to reap the full tourism benefits of such events, a long-term approach is required, and a careful strategy has to be put in place, experts say.
"It's seizing the chance while we're in the world's spotlight over the summer to get us back on the map," says Chris Foy, the head of the 2012 Games unit at VisitBritain.
The tourism board's target is to generate an extra £2 billion of visitor spending by 2014 from the Games. The tourism board believes its four-year campaign around the Olympics will attract 4 million additional visitors to Britain.
The campaign includes international television advertising, street art and posters in major cities. The effort uses the Olympics as a springboard to promote Britain's tourism attributes, including its heritage, shopping opportunities and countryside.
VisitBritain has even recruited the British-Emirati film director Ali F Mostafa, best known for City of Life, as an ambassador. He has directed and produced a short film talking about his views on Britain as part of this role.
One of the key points in marketing a destination connected with the Olympics is to focus not only on the two-week event, Mr Foy says.
"The growth comes afterwards. If you look at any Olympic host country, the gains come once the Olympics, or the World Cup, or whatever big event it is, [is over], if the marketing is managed well, that is," he says. "You stand to attract more visitors afterwards rather than necessarily during the actual event.
"That's the kind of strategy we have, in effect to use the Olympics as a global advertisement for Britain. It's not just about driving visitors this year. It's about seeing a dividend in 2013 and 2014 as well."
He concedes that there have been mixed results in terms of long-term tourism benefits for countries hosting major sporting events, but he highlights some positive case studies.
"Australia really used the Sydney Olympics to really reposition the whole brand of Australia," Mr Foy says. "It had this sort of Crocodile Dundee image, slightly outdated, and they used the Games to show a very modern and a much more accessible Australia, and it put them in a much stronger position as a tourism destination after the Olympics.
The World Cup in Germany in 2006 equally changed people's minds about Germany and pictured a much more modern image of Germany."
Analysts say there are lessons for countries in this region from such approaches to the tourism marketing of major events, which should be weighed against other considerations.
"The thinking should be more strategic in nature," says Ian Michael, a professor of marketing at Zayed University in Dubai. "Studies have indicated that a tourism event - the larger the better - for example Fifa or Olympics, plays a positive role in showcasing the destination and helps in building brand awareness and eventually brand equity for that destination," Prof Michael says. "Before, during and especially after the event, the nation should showcase the destination."
But the costs of hosting these events run high.
"On the flip side, cities and nations have had to grapple with heavy debts, like Greece and South Africa [did], to create infrastructure for huge events like the Fifa World Cup and Olympics," Prof Michael says.