2021 Awards: Celebrating Amazing Achievements in the Community

BestCities has always pushed the boundaries in order to pursue our commitment to excellence. This entire year has been proof of that as we continue to reach milestones and see great achievements considering the challenges that we collectively had to face.

To close the year in high spirits, let’s honor the awardees from the Incredible Impact Awards and recognize the impact that these winners have made in their community and beyond. Let’s also celebrate the awards granted to our partner cities for the amazing feats they accomplished.

Annual Awards Round-Up - BestCities

Incredible Impacts

We believe that international association meetings are more than just efforts towards better tourism. Instead, they have the potential to have a positive impact on societies worldwide. 

This is what we celebrate through the Incredible Impacts Programme.

Incredible Impacts highlights meetings that have made an amazing impact beyond tourism. Once chosen by the panel of independent judges, three winners are given a grant of USD 7,500 each coming from the ICCA and the BestCities Global Alliance.

The following initiatives have been chosen as this year’s winners:

These winners are truly inspiring in their pursuit of global excellence and have been making a real impact on different global issues.

City Awards

Staying true to our commitment to excellence, our partner cities have received various awards this year for their achievements and contributions both locally and globally. Here is a round-up of those awards.


Cape Town

World's Leading Festival & Event Destination 2021

For the third time in the past four years, Cape Town has been named the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination for 2021 by the World Travel Awards.



Global Destination Sustainability Movement’s Innovation Award 2021

The Copenhagen Legacy Lab, an initiative from the Copenhagen Convention Bureau, has been awarded the esteemed Innovation Award for 2021 by the Global Destination Sustainability Movement. The initiative focuses on the importance of legacy work and ensuring a lasting positive impact in the industry and around the world.

World’s Safest City 2021

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has recognized Copenhagen as the World’s Safest City for 2021. The index includes 60 cities worldwide and looks at different factors that affect urban safety.

Best City for Quality of Life 2021

Monocle’s Quality of Life survey has placed Copenhagen on the top spot because of the city’s evident commitment to improving everyone’s quality of life in the city. Some of the metrics used to rank the cities are ease of opening businesses, infrastructure, and overall safety.

Two Copenhagen Restaurants Awarded Best in the World

Copenhagen is quickly being seen as a global gastronomic hotspot as Noma and Geranium win top 1 and top 2 spots respectively in the list of the best restaurants around the world. Aside from these two, two other Copenhagen restaurants, Amass and Alchemist, were also included in the world’s top 100.

Nørrebro District Tops World’s Coolest Neighborhoods 2021

Time Out Magazine has given the Nørrebro district the top spot in their list of the World’s Coolest Neighborhoods for 2021. The award is given to neighbourhoods that show amazing culture not just in terms of food, drinks, and nightlife, but also in terms of community spirit.



World's Leading Business Travel Destination 2021

For the third consecutive year, Dubai has been awarded the World's Leading Business Travel Destination 2021 by the World Travel Awards.

World's Leading Meetings & Conference Centre 2021

Another one of the many awards headed to Dubai this edition of the World Travel Awards is the one for World's Leading Meetings & Conference Centre 2021. The Dubai World Trade Centre won this recognition for the second year straight.



Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction

EPIC The Irish Immigration Museum has been recognized as Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards for the 3rd year in a row. The museum boasts of fully interactive displays, making every visit an engaging learning experience.

Best Overseas Conference Venue

The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) has been hailed as the Best Overseas Conference Centre at the 2021 M&IT Awards. The awards programme is an initiative from the Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine.

Best Overseas Convention Bureau

At the same night, Dublin Convention Bureau took Gold for Best Overseas Convention Bureau. A night to remember at the annual Meetings & Incentive Travel Industry Awards.

#2 European Capital of Innovation

The European Innovation Council has recognized Dublin as the 2nd most innovative city in Europe. Tied with Dublin in 2nd place is Malaga in Spain, while Dortmund bags the top prize.

2022 European Capital of Smart Tourism Finalist

Dublin has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2022 European Capital of Smart Tourism award, which is given to European cities that show excellent accessibility, cultural heritage and creativity, digitalization, and sustainability.



#1 Most Diverse City in the US

WalletHub has recognized Houston as both the top Most Diverse City in the US and the Most Diverse Large City in the US. The winners were judged based on cultural, economic, household, religious, and socioeconomic diversity.

Awards for the George Bush Intercontinental Airport 

The George Bush Intercontinental Airport has received the highest ranking among all other airports in the United States on the list of the Top 50 Airports in the World for 2021 by the Skytrax World Airport Awards. It placed 2nd as the Best Airport in North America after the Vancouver International Airport.

It is also the Cleanest Airport in the US and has received the COVID-19 Airport Excellence Award.

Awards for the William P. Hobby Airport

The Hobby Airport received recognition as the Most Improved Airport in the US. It is also included in both the Top 10 Cleanest Airports in North America and the Top 10 Best Airports in North America.



World's & Europe's Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2021

Madrid has once again been recognized as Europe’s Best MICE Destination for the 4th year straight at the 2021 World Travel Awards. This shows the city’s impact on its own community and the entire industry while ensuring maximum safety.

After cementing its position as Europe’s top MICE destination, Madrid is also re-named the World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination for the third time in a row.

Europe's Best MICE Destination

And, if that's not all, Madrid also took home the award for Europe’s Best MICE Destination at the 2021 World MICE Awards. It's amazing to see industry professionals demonstrating their continued confidence in the city as a top MICE destination.

Best International CVB

The Madrid Convention Bureau has been recognised as Best International CVB at the Smart Stars Award, Smart Meetings Magazine 2021, one of the leading meetings industry publishers and voice of inspiration for meeting professionals.

Michelin Stars 2022

Another reason to consider Madrid for future events is for its amazing culinary scene. As of the end of 2021, the city of Madrid counts 21 award-winning restaurants, with a total of 28 stars.

Skytrax Awards 2021

The international airport Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas, has recently received the Skytrax Covid-19 airport Excellence Award 2021. Another great addition to Madrid's list of awards as it speaks to the city's commitment to be a safe destination for domestic and international events.

Madrid's last promotional video, "Jane Meets Madrid" has received 6 awards at the Tourist Film Festivals Circuit CIFFT, during the year 2021:

  • 2nd position at FILMAT Poland, section Tourism Product.
  • Gold, section Tourism Product, Intnal. Tourism Film Festival Africa
  • Gold, section Tourism Product, Intnal. Tourism Film Festival Cappadocia
  • Official Section 2021, SILAFEST
  • 1st position at Terres Travel Festival,section Tourism Product
  • Gold category MICE& Events at The Golden City Gate Berlin

At the same time, "Jane Meets Madrid, has reached the 3rd position at the CIFFT most voted films ranking in the category "Tourism Products".

The video was produced by the Madrid Convention Bureau with the collaboration of a group of professionals of the MICE industry in Madrid and was part of a project of 2 videos: Jane Meets Madrid and MICE meets Madrid. Both videos showcase the personal experiences of different professionals in the sector since the pandemic appeared and turned the sector upside down.


Top 1 Sustainable City in the Asia-Pacific Region

Melbourne and the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has placed 1st in the list of sustainable cities in the Asia-Pacific region in the Global Destination Sustainability Index. This award is evaluated based on a city’s environmental strategy and infrastructure, industry supplier support, social sustainability performance, and strategies and initiatives.

Top 4 City with the Most Instagrammed Street Art

Melbourne has placed 4th in the list of cities worldwide with the most Instagrammed street art. A ranking published by eTurbo News, there were a total of 32,700 Instagram posts showing amazing street art around the city.

Best City Hotel in Asia Pacific

The Langham, Melbourne has been recognized as the Best City Hotel in Asia Pacific at the 2021 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. This is the 3rd time that The Langham has received this award after having won the same title in 2016 and 2018.



World’s Best Airport Staff Service

The Skytrax World Airport Awards has recognized the staff at Changi Airport as the best in the world. The quality of staff is gauged on the attitude, efficiency and friendliness of all front-line staff around the airport.

3rd Best Airport in the World

Changi Airport was also recognized as the 3rd Best Airport in the World by the Skytrax World Airport Awards. Having won 1st place 8 times in the past, it has now been overtaken by Doha’s Hamad International Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, which placed 1st and 2nd, respectively.



1st Place in Health Security

Tokyo has placed 1st in terms of Health Security in the Economist Intelligence Unit Safe Cities Index 2021. This index ranks 60 cities in different areas like health, infrastructure, security, and more.

Best City in the World

Conde Nast Traveler has hailed Tokyo as the Best City in the World based on their Reader’s Choice Awards for 2021. This is an amazing feat for Tokyo, knowing that they placed 6th last year before zooming to the top spot this year.

3rd Place in the Annual Global Power City Index

Tokyo has placed 3rd in the 2021 Global Power City Index (GPCI), which ranks cities based on accessibility, cultural interaction, economy, environment, livability, and research and development. Placing 1st and 2nd are London and New York, respectively.

Asia’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination 2021

Tokyo has been hailed as Asia’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination for 2021 at the World Travel Awards. The awards body has been rewarding cities, businesses, and organizations that show excellence in terms of travel, tourism and hospitality since 1993.

World’s Cleanest Airport / 2nd Best Airport in the World

The Skytrax World Airport Awards has awarded Haneda Airport as the World’s Cleanest Airport, the 2nd time for Haneda to receive the award. It has also been hailed as the 2nd Best Airport in the World, with the Hamad International Airport in Doha placing 1st.



Best Airport in North America

With votes from 21.65 million passengers worldwide, the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has been awarded as the Best Airport in North America by the Skytrax World Airport Awards. This is the 12th consecutive year for them to hold this title.

Skytrax COVID-19 Airport Excellence Award

The Vancouver International Airport was also the only airport in Canada to receive the Skytrax COVID-19 Airport Excellence Award. This award is given to airports that provide exceptional health, hygiene and safety protocols during this pandemic.