2023 Awards: Celebrating Our Partner Cities’ Achievements

The BestCities Global Alliance continues to stand by its commitment to excellence. We, together with our partner cities, continue to raise the standards in and around the MICE industry, with new partners, new milestones, and new initiatives. Now, we’re ending the year strong and look forward to an even better 2024.

Annual Awards Round-Up - BestCities

Incredible Impact Awards 2023

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and BestCities Global Alliance has awarded a $20,000-grant to the Associated Country Women of the World (ACCW) for their Women’s Empowerment Summit held in Khovd, Mongolia. The initiative truly made an astounding impact to the lives of over 300 women who survived domestic violence, giving women from nomadic communities the voice and power to effect change.

Meanwhile, the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) was granted a seed grant of $5,000 to support their mission and vision of eliminating papillomavirus-related diseases like cervical cancer.

Click here to learn more and to download the case studies.

2023 Awards for Our Partner Cities

Here is a round-up of the awards and achievements that our partner cities received this year:


2nd Best Airport in Northern Europe, Skytrax World Airport Awards 2023

Copenhagen Airport was ranked 2nd in the list of Best Airports in Northern Europe in the 2023 Skytrax World Airport Awards. Passenger traffic has increased by 40% in the last year, with a 12% increase in November alone.

Top 2, EIU Global Livability Index 2023

Copenhagen has placed 2nd in EIU’s Global Livability Index for 2023. The index assesses the standard of living in 173 countries based on culture and environment, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and stability.

Top 1, Forbes Best Places to Live for Work-Life Balance

Forbes has named Copenhagen the best place to live for professionals looking for work-life balance, with public transport, infrastructure, and green spaces highlighted as some of the city’s strengths. Their lifestyle, which gives importance to spending time to care for oneself and others, was also a huge contributor to their total score. 

2023 World Capital of Architecture

UNESCO-UIA has awarded Copenhagen the World Capital of Architecture for 2023, recognizing the city’s innovative urban development and unique initiatives that promote sustainability and livability. It is also home to some of the biggest names in architecture, including Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Henning Larsen Architects, and C.F. Møller, among others.

Top 3, Global Destination Sustainability Index 2023

Copenhagen was ranked 3rd overall in the Global Destination Sustainability Index for 2023, with its scores in both Social Sustainability and Destination Management ranking 1st. The GDS-Index recognizes cities that make considerable impact through community engagement, climate action plans, diversity initiatives, and more.

Alchemist, 5th in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Alchemist has brought more visitors to the remote district of Refshaleøen in Copenhagen after being recognized as the 5th best restaurant in the world. Head Chef Rasmus Munk takes customers through quite an experience, mixing an unbelievable setting, an excellent front-of-house team, and amazing dishes produced from the chef’s evident meticulousness in sourcing for the best ingredients.


TIME World’s Greatest Places

TIME has named Vancouver as one of the World’s Greatest Places for 2023, not just for its beautiful outdoors, but for its indoor attractions as well. Vancouver’s eclectic food scene, in particular, was highlighted by the feature with Published on Main, Burdock & Co, and Salmon n’Bannock among the restaurants mentioned.

#1 in Canada and North America, Kayak’s City Index for Mindful Travellers

Kayak, the premiere travel search engine, has placed Vancouver on top of their list of cities for mindful travellers. Ranking 167 countries from around the globe, the index considers factors like popularity, transportation, air quality, and cost to gauge who gets to be on top of the list.

Top 8, Conde Nast’s Best Big Cities

Vancouves was ranked 8 in Conde Nast’s list of the Best Big Cities in the world, mentioning its natural beauty, creative arts scene, and ethnic diversity. The Vancouver food scene was also featured, as well as taking a cable car up Grouse Mountain. 

Multiple Awardee, World Travel Awards

Vancouver was given multiple awards in the World Travel Awards 2023, with the city being hailed as North America’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination and the Port of Vancouver named as North America’s Leading Cruise Port. The Fairmont Vancouver Airport was also named British Columbia’s Leading Airport Hotel for 2023.


Top Sustainable City in Australia for Business Events, GDS-Index 2023

Melbourne was named the Most Sustainable City in Australia for Business Events in the GDS-Index 2023, and ranked 4th in the Asia-Pacific region for the same category. Among the sustainability initiatives recognized are the city’s Climate Mitigation Strategy 2050 and the Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

Oceania’s Leading Meetings and Conferences Destination 2023, World Travel Awards

Melbourne was declared the Leading Meetings and Conferences Destination for 2023 in the World Travel Awards, the 9th time the city has received the same award. It was also nominated for two other categories — World’s Leading All-Season Destination and World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination

Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME), Best Exhibition or Trade Show

Melbourne Convention Bureau’s very own Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) 2023 was awarded the Best Exhibition or Trade Show at the Australian Event Awards and Symposium. AIME previously won Australian Event of the Year in 2022.

Finalist, Business Travel Category, 2023 Skift IDEA Awards

The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) was nominated as a finalist in the Business Travel category of the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards. The recognition was for MCB’s innovative destination video Ready.Set.Melbourne, which aims to excite and inform delegates planning to attend a convention in Melbourne.


World’s Best Business Environment, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

EIU has once again shown Singapore to have the Best Business Environment for the 15th year in a row. It received perfect scores in terms of policies in foreign investments, foreign trade, and exchange controls. It also received top ranks for technological readiness.

#5 in the World and #1 in Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania (SEAO), Global Innovation Index 2023

Singapore finished 5th in the global ranking of the world’s most innovative economies in the Global Innovation Index 2023, climbing 2 spots from last year’s results. This year’s scores also places Singapore in the top spot within the Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania (SEAO) region.

#1 Meetings Per City Ranking in APAC 2023, ICCA Rankings

Singapore has topped the ICCA rankings in terms of meetings per city in the Asia Pacific region. It also placed 5th in Asia Pacific and 13th globally in terms of overall ICCA rankings.

Multiple Awardee, Business Traveller Awards 2023

Singapore received several recognitions at the 2023 Business Traveller Awards, including Best MICE Destination Worldwide, Best Business City in Asia, and Best Business City in the World.

#2 in Asia-Pacific and #17 Globally, GDS-Index 2023

Out of 100 participating destinations worldwide, Singapore has placed 17th in the GDS-Index, a testament to the Lion City’s commitment to becoming a leading sustainable urban destination. Further showcasing this commitment is Singapore ranking 2nd in the same index in the Asia-Pacific region.

Best MICE Destination in Asia, 2023 Meetings & Conventions Asia Stella Awards

Singapore has been awarded the Best MICE Destination in Asia at the 2023 Meetings & Conventions Asia Stella Awards. Also recognized were Marina Bay Sands, which won the Best Meeting Hotel in Singapore, and the Sands Expo & Convention Centre, which was awarded the Best Convention Center in Southeast Asia.

Changi Airport, World’s Best Airport, Skytrax World Airport Awards

London-based research firm Skytrax has declared Changi Airport the world’s best airport for the 12th time. As one of the busiest passenger hubs in Asia, the airport is known for unrivalled passenger experiences.

Cape Town

Multiple Awardee, Skytrax World Airport Awards 2023

Cape Town International Airport is once again considered best in the region, winning Best Airport in Africa at the 2023 Skytrax World Airport Awards, the 8th consecutive year it has won the award. It was also given the award for Best Airport Staff in Africa, the 3rd consecutive time it was recognized for exceptional service.

Best City in the World, Telegraph Travel Awards 2023

The Telegraph has declared Cape Town as the Best City in the World in the 2023 Telegraph Travel Awards, emerging at the top with over 30,000 readers voting for their favorite destinations. 

Most Sustainable Stand, World Travel Market Africa 2023

The Cape Town Tourism team was recognized as the Most Sustainable Stand at the World Travel Market Africa 2023. Cape Town has consistently won the award for 8 years, highlighting different experiences The Mother City has to offer.


#1 Meeting Destination in Middle East and Africa 2023, Cvent

Cvent, the premier events, meetings, and hospitality technology provider, has named Dubai the Top Meeting Destination in the Middle East and Africa for 2023. This is the 1st time Cvent published the annual list since the pandemic.

Multiple Awardee, World Travel Awards 2023

Dubai has been named the Middle East’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination at the 2023 World Travel Awards. The City of Gold was also named World’s Leading Exhibition Destination, World’s Leading Shopping Destination, Middle East’s Leading Destination, and Middle East’s Leading Wedding Destination. Meanwhile, Dubai Tourism was named Middle East’s Leading Tourist Board.

#1 in the Middle East & #14 Globally, Innovation Cities Index 2023

The annual Innovation Cities Index has named Dubai the top most innovative city in the Middle Eastern region. It was also ranked 14th globally, with indicators like green architecture, vertical living, youth activities, and more serving as benchmarks for the total rank.

Top World Destination, Savills Executive Nomad Index

Savills, one of the world’s top property advisors, has ranked Dubai as the Top World Destination in the Savills Executive Nomad Index. The index ranks cities based on their culture, vibrancy, and the networking opportunities provided for digital nomads.

Most Popular City for Moving Abroad, Remitly

From a list of cities from 60 countries, Dubai has topped the list of most popular cities to move to as shown by its population increase of over 100,000 in the past year. Some of the factors contributing to its top spot are its lively nightlife, ultramodern architecture, and massive employment opportunities.

Most Popular Destination in the World, Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Destinations 2023

Dubai was named the Most Popular Destination in the World in Tripadvisor’s 2023 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Destinations. The list is based on reviews of over 8 million listings in the online travel platform, with only 1% of the listings showing a high enough level of excellence to be named best of the best.


Best Convention & Exhibition Bureau, 32nd TTG Travel Awards 2023

The Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (TCVB) has been voted as the Best Convention & Exhibition Bureau at the 32nd TTG Travel Awards held last October. Winners were chosen based on votes by the readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, TTG India, TTGmice, TTG-BTmice China, TTG associations and TTG Asia Luxury. 

2nd Best City in the World, Conde Nast 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards

Last October, Tokyo was named the 2nd best city in the world in the Conde Nast 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards. The feature highlighted the city as one of the best food destinations in the world, knowing that it has the most number of Michelin stars compared to any other city in the world.

Top 3, 2023 Global Power City Index

For the 8th year in a row, Tokyo ranked 3rd in the Global Power City Index (GPCI). The GPCI ranks major cities in the world based on 6 areas — accessibility, cultural interaction, economy, environment, livability, and research and development. Compared to last year, Tokyo has shown improvement in both cultural interaction and livability.

Multiple Awardee, Skytrax World Airport Awards

The Skytrax World Airport Awards named Tokyo Internation Airport, also known as Haneda Airport, the World’s Cleanest Airport for the eighth year in a row. Having catered to 50 to 60 million passengers this year, it was also declared one of the Best Airports in the World based on passenger numbers. It was also named one of the World’s Best Domestic Airports 2023 and one of the World’s Best PRM and Accessible Facilities 2023.

4th Best City in the World, Timeout.com 100 Best Cities in the World

Tokyo came in 4th in Timeout.com’s 100 Best Cities in the World, calling it a futuristic metropolis with ancient roots. Aside from its strong economy, Tokyo’s restaurants and shopping centers catapulted it into its current spot.

Top 7, Travel + Leisure Readers’ 25 Favorite Cities in the World of 2023

Travel + Leisure’s readers ranked Tokyo as their 7th favorite in the list of 25 cities around the world. The survey ranks cities based on culture, food, friendliness, landmarks, and shopping. Its Michelin-star restaurants, amazing hotels, and beautiful neighborhoods are mentioned as its strongest suits.

teamLab Planets, Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2023

teamLab Planets, one of Tokyo’s Unique Venues, has been named Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction for 2023 in the World Travel Awards. The attraction takes visitors on an immersive experience with its water and garden areas allowing each guest to become part of the exhibit.


World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2023

Madrid has been named the World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination for 2023 at The World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony held in Dubai early this December. This is the 5th consecutive time Madrid has been awarded this accolade, receiving the award every year since 2019.

Europe´s Leading City Tourist Board 2023

Another award granted at the World Travel Awards was Europe’s Leading City Tourist Board for 2023, which was granted to Madrid Destino after being nominated for the award yearly since 2017. 

Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2023

Madrid was also named Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination for 2023 at the 30th World Travel Awards Europe held last October, the 6th time in a row that the Spanish capital has received the award. 

Washington, DC

GDS-Movement Innovation Award, 2023 GDS Awards

Destination DC has been awarded the GDS-Movement Innovation Award, which recognizes destinations that employe innovative solutions to enhance sustainability. One key initiative that Destination DC was recognized for is the DEI Fellowship programme, where they engage with small businesses within the community to support them and give them more opportunities to thrive in the hospitality industry.

Best Destination Marketing Organization (U.S.), Skift Meeting Awards 2023

Destination DC was named Best Destination Marketing Organization in the US at the Skift Meeting Awards 2023, recognizing their effort to promote and support businesses that match their DEI initiatives especially within the MICE industry.

Silver Award – Best CVB/DMO Meeting & Incentive Planner Support (East Region), Prevue Visionary Awards 2023

Coming in 2nd at the Prevue Visionary Awards 2023 as the Best CVB/DMO Meeting & Incentive Planner Support in the Eastern Region is Destination DC. The annual awarding event recognizes forward-thinking destinations that innovate the way the MICE industry operates.

Best East CVB/DMO, Best of Meetings Today 2023

Destination DC was named one of the Best CVBs/DMOs in the East in the Best of Meetings Today for 2023. Among the criteria used to gauge winners are the quality of meeting space, guest services and amenities, overall value and experience, and more.

Best CVB/DMO, Smart Stars 2023

Another award for Best CVB/DMO, Destination DC was included in the list of winners in Smart Meetings’ Smart Stars 2023. This is the 11th year of the prestigious awards platform, which hand-selects outstanding destinations under 31 categories.

Elliott L. Ferguson, Destination DC President & CEO, 2023 Inductee, U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders

President & Ceo of Destination DC, Elliot Ferguson, has been inducted into the US Travel Hall of Leaders. Established in 1969, the Hall of Leaders aims to recognize remarkable contributions to the travel and tourism industry.


6th Place in Metropolitan Comparison, GDS-Index 2023

Berlin has placed 6th in the 2023 GDS-Index in the metropolitan level, with most of its citizens adapting to a LOHAS (lifestyle of health and sustainability) lifestyle. The city is also known for its sustainable event and tourism initiatives, and for programs like Sustainable Tourism Berlin and Sustainable Meetings Berlin.

2nd Place, 50 Best Student Cities in the World, The Campus Advisor

The Campus Advisor has placed Berlin in 2nd place as one of the best student cities in the world for 2023. With an overall score of 4.63 out of 5.0, it excelled in the areas of nightlife, student friendliness, and amenities, and ranked 1st overall for public transport.

1st Place — Freie Universität Berlin and 3rd Place — Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Humboldt Ranking 2023

Freie Universität Berlin has placed 1st in the 2023 Humboldt Ranking, which ranks institutions in Germany at which international researchers sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation work particularly frequently. Freie Universität Berlin has 251 fellows, 38.5 award winners, and 289.5 sponsored individuals. 

Also coming in 3rd on the list is Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Neukölln, 22nd Coolest Districts in the World 2023, Time Out Magazine

Time Out magazine has named Berlin district Neukölln as one of the Coolest Districts in the World, mostly due to its distinct multicultural feeling. The magazine recommends having brunch at Azzam, visiting the Ironic Gallery, and having dinner at Barra.


Best US City for Foreign Businesses, FT-Nikkei Ranking

Houston zoomed to the top spot of the annual ranking of best cities in the US for foreign businesses. According to the Financial Times and Nikkei, Houston had business-friendly policies, affordable cost of living, efficient logistics, and diversity in its current business landscape.

Bush Intercontinental Airport, Best US Airport for Layovers, MarketWatch

The Bush Intercontinental Airport was named the best airport for layovers based on a survey by MarketWatch. Aside from being a favorite among frequent flyers, it also got the highest ratings in terms of food and beverage options.

#5 Best Food Cities in the US, Travel + Leisure

Houston placed 5th among all the cities in the US in Travel + Leisure’s list of Best Food Cities in the US. Some restaurants mentioned that are worth visiting include Crawfish & Noodles, Hawker Street Food Bar, and ChopnBlok.

The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, #1 Resort in Texas, Travel + Leisure

The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa landed on the #1 spot of the best resort properties in Texas, with guests commending their amazing service, huge campus, and fabulous spa.

Houston was also included in numerous other lists like Top City for Stock Market Performance, Top Texas Market for Life Science Talent, and more. Visit this link to see Houston’s full list of awards for 2023 – https://www.houston.org/houston-data/houston-rankings