In December, BestCities Global Alliance welcomed industry thought-leaders, international associations, and partner destinations to Vancouver, Canada for the 2022 BestCities Global Forum. During the three-day event, attendees pledged to prioritize legacy in future bid strategies, raised money for a local non-profit, and learned how to measure the impact of business events on destinations and associations.
Central to the Global Forum was highlighting the impact that small and local businesses can have on tourism. The program featured a presentation of the Conference Legacy Impact Study conducted by Destination Vancouver and Capilano University’s Centre for Tourism Research, which found that delegates who visit local businesses are more likely to find value in their conference and return to the host destination as tourists.
“Each conference in every destination will have unique legacies and outcomes of their own,” said Michael Drake, Director of Sales, Meetings & Conventions, Canada & International at Destination Vancouver. “With more than half of the outcomes identified as non-economic, partnering with the destination will improve the desired outcomes for all stakeholders involved.”
Another milestone at the Global Forum was 12 participants signing up for BestCities Madrid Challenge with a pledge to build legacy into their bid strategies for future events. Launched in 2021, the initiative identifies ways to support associations and destinations as they centre impact and sustainability in conference and event planning.
“The impact that meetings have on local communities in a host destination is invaluable, spanning knowledge exchange, talent acquisition, inclusion, academic research, and new business opportunities,” said Lesley Williams, managing director of BestCities Global Alliance. “We are delighted that all who attended our Forum acknowledged the importance of shifting the meetings and events industry towards a more sustainable model by signing up for the Madrid Challenge.”
Partners and associations took immediate steps toward positive change by participating in “Engage for Good”, a Forum activity that raised funds for Ocean Wise Seafood, a non-profit focused on ocean conservation. Throughout their time in Vancouver, delegates earned points for conference activities such as taking public transport and engaging with the attendee app. At the close of the conference, delegates had earned the equivalent of $2,500 CAD, all of which was donated to Ocean Wise Seafood.
A post-event survey of Global Forum attendees demonstrated the ongoing value of the annual event. One hundred percent of survey respondents said they would recommend the Global Forum to other international associations, while 93 percent said the Forum fulfilled their expectations.
The next edition of the Global Forum will take place January 18-21, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. For more information about BestCities Global Alliance, visit www.bestcities.net.