What’s New This December?

How is BestCities ending 2023? With a bang, of course! We’re making this a memorable year and ushering in 2024 with just as much excitement, knowing what amazing things are happening throughout our partner cities.

BestCities Shines at ICCA Congress: A Recap of Highlights

BestCities Global Alliance left an indelible mark at the recent ICCA Congress in Bangkok, with a diverse and dynamic presence across various engaging sessions. The Incredible Impacts Zone hosted several enlightening Campfire Sessions. On one the sessions with a notable focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) led by Shelby Luzzi from Destination DC. Her insights into the award-winning DE&I Business Fellowship program, recognized at the 2023 Global Destination Sustainability Conference, added depth to the discourse.

The Sharing Hubs proved to be platforms for numerous enriching conversations, facilitated by our dedicated BD partners. These hubs served as dynamic spaces for networking and collaborative idea exchange, reinforcing BestCities’ commitment to fostering meaningful connections within the global events community.

Julia Swanon of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and Loren Christie, MD of BestCities played integral roles in the IAPCO-led panel, “Unblurring the Lines: from Bidding to Legacy,” providing essential insights for success in the ever-evolving events industry. Their contributions reflected BestCities’ dedication to thought leadership and knowledge-sharing within the meetings and conventions sector.

Melissa Riley from Destination DC showcased her expertise on multiple panels, including “The Power of Mistakes: Everybody Makes Them, Everybody Can Learn From Them,” and a thought-provoking discussion on “Shattering the Status Quo: Rethinking Accessibility for Real Inclusion.” These discussions underscored BestCities’ commitment to exploring innovative and inclusive approaches in event planning.

Bettina Reventlow-Mourier from Wonderful Copenhagen led a compelling session titled “Is Our Business a Risky Business?” addressing critical aspects of risk management in the events industry. This session exemplified BestCities’ dedication to addressing relevant and timely topics crucial for the success of event professionals.

Kit Lykketoft, also from Wonderful Copenhagen, presented and moderated the 20th Copenhagen Denmark Lecture with the theme “Leave no one behind.” Kit’s presentation and moderation of this influential lecture further showcased BestCities’ commitment to advancing knowledge and inclusivity in the global events landscape.

In summary, BestCities Global Alliance demonstrated a strong and impactful presence, contributing significantly to the vibrancy and knowledge-sharing at the heart of the ICCA Congress.

2023 Incredible Impact Award Winner Announced

The recently concluded ICCA Congress in Bangkok became even more eventful as BestCities Global Alliance and the ICCA announced the winner for the 2023 Incredible Impacts Programme. The Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) was awarded $20,000 to fund future initiatives, a well-deserved win after their successful Women’s Empowerment Summit last August in Mongolia.

Click here to read more about the 2023 Incredible Impacts Award winner.

Last Chance to Join Next Month’s BestCities Global Forum in Melbourne

Final preparations for the BestCities Global Forum are underway as the much-awaited gathering of industry thought leaders, international associations, and partner destinations is finally happening from January 18 to 21 in Melbourne.

Aside from the workshops, presentations, and other experiences about the theme Meeting the Challenge: Creating Connections with Purpose, participants are also encouraged to explore the city and witness the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Visit the Global Forum website for more details about the programme and to register for the event.

Updates From Our Partner Cities

It’s going to be a memorable end to 2023 and an amazing start to 2024 as our partner cities host some of the best events in the business.

Washington, DC

Let’s all congratulate Destination DC’s SVP for Convention Sales and Services Melissa Riley, who was elected as one of the Board of Directors for Destination Marketing to the International Congress and Convention Association.

Elliott L. Ferguson II, President and CEO of Destination DC, has also been inducted into the U.S. Travel Association’s Hall of Leaders. Inductees are recognized for “sustained, noteworthy contributions” that positively impact the travel industry and raise industry-wide standards.

Meanwhile, Destination DC unveils the “There’s Only One DC” campaign, which aims to highlight the things that set DC apart from all other destinations. The campaign targets both leisure travelers and meetings and events professionals, with a mix of DC’s most popular attractions as well as a few hidden gems featured on both digital and print materials. 

As for future events, the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) has chosen Washington, DC, as the host city for its 2025 Congress happening on June 21-25, 2025, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. This will be the first in-person non-Scientific and Standardization Committee (SSC) meeting in the United States since the ISTH 2009 Congress in Boston.


The 4th edition of the Dubai Association Centre Conference will be held on February 27 to 28, 2024 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The event will be hosted by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and will highlight the transformative role of associations under the theme “Value Amplified: Associations Empowering Change.”

COP28 UAE kicked off on November 20 at Expo City Dubai, with activities planned all the way to December 12. It is expected to bring in over 70,000 delegates, including heads of state and world leaders, who continue to take part in the global movement to facilitate progress on climate action among parties, delegates, and thousands of non-government organizations, companies, youth groups, and other stakeholders.


Tokyo has been chosen to host the 22nd Asia-Pacific Retailers Convention & Exhibition (APRCE), to be held from October 7 to October 9, 2026, at the Tokyo International Forum. APRCE 2026 will be organized by the Japan Retailers Association (JRA) and FAPRA and commemorates the third time Tokyo will host this distinguished assembly, marking its return after 19 years. It is expected to attract 4,000 participants, including 1,500 overseas specialists from over 18 countries and regions.

The Business Events Tokyo team also expresses gratitude to business partners and colleagues for their ongoing support this year and sends their best wishes for the festive season.



Dublin’s outstanding contributions to the global ICCA community throughout its 20-year membership were recognized at the ICCA World Congress 2023, held recently in Bangkok, a testament to Dublin’s continued commitment to the MICE industry.

Dublin also prepares to welcome more visitors through its Winter in Dublin campaign, a collaborative event between Fáilte Ireland and Dublin stakeholders, including local authorities, public bodies, representative organizations, and industry partners. From cultural events and live music to fantastic food and shopping, Winter in Dublin showcases a string of fun and exciting activities happening from November to January.

Meanwhile, JetBlue is expanding its transatlantic service and will start running daily flights from New York and Boston to Dublin from March 13 to September 30. This is part of the carrier’s move to take full advantage of the strengthening demand for international travel, which has been growing quicker than domestic travel.


Guadalajara has been chosen to host the World Congress of Dermatology (WCD) 2027. One of the largest international dermatological conferences organized by the International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS), the event is held every four years and brings together dermatological experts from all over the world to share clinical experiences, scientific research, and new knowledge and best practices in the industry.

Guadalajara has also been named one of the World’s Greatest Places in 2023 by Time Magazine. The feature highlighted the way the city preserves the past while highlighting its vision for the future. Some examples of Guadalajara’s diverse and colorful culture mentioned in the article are the city’s active LGBTQ community as well as the city’s bike share system.

Showing Guadalajara’s commitment to diversity, the city recently co-hosted the 11th edition of Gay Games 2023 with Hong Kong. Held from November 3 to 11, Guadalajara was the first Latin American destination to host the event.

Guadalajara was also one of the guest destinations at the IBTM Americas 2023, held in Mexico City from September 11 to 14. The team was in charge of the Hosted Buyer Lounge on the last day, giving hosted buyers the chance to relax and network with other industry professionals.

Finally, Jalisco continues to bring in more visitors into the state and has recently unveiled direct flights from Vancouver to the capital of Guadalajara.


The Melbourne Convention Bureau has secured the world’s leading ocean energy conference for September 17 to 19, 2024. Held for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere, the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2024) is expected to bring together up to 1,000 ocean energy leaders, decision-makers, and researchers from across the globe to share the latest developments in ocean energy.

Recognized globally as a leader in cancer research, Melbourne is also set to host the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS) in November 2025. The event is expected to attract 400 delegates and contribute over $1.770m to the local economy.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Convention Bureau has launched the 3rd edition of the Melbourne eGuide. The guide highlights the city’s rich and diverse cultural infrastructure, services, and experiences and shows conference, meeting, and incentive event planners why Melbourne should be on top of their destination list.

Melbourne Convention Bureau CEO Julia Swanson recently visited Bangkok for the ICCA World Congress, where she participated in an International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Education Workshop titled: Unblurring the Lines; from Bidding to Legacy – the who, what, where, when and how to succeed at it.


“Copenhagen Life Science: Positioning Copenhagen as the World’s Leading Life Science Hub,” which was developed together with Copenhagen Capacity, has just been distinguished as a “Highly Commended” entry in the “Best Communication Strategy in Economic Development” category at the prestigious City Nation Place Awards 2023. The campaign aims to attract international life science companies into the city to hold meetings, conventions, and other events. 

Conde Nast has named Copenhagen’s Carlsberg District as one of Europe’s Top Destinations for 2024. The area served as the Carlsberg brewery for 161 years and is now home to shops and restaurants. Though the area was recently closed due to renovations, the cultural attraction reopens this December 1. 

The Copenhagen-Denmark lecture at the recently concluded ICCA Congress in Bangkok called “Leave No One Behind” was a huge success as the speakers highlighted the midway status of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. His Excellency and former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon opened the lecture, followed by a discussion with Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner at BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, and Nathalie Mossin, Head of Institute at the Royal Danish Academy & President for the UIA World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen. The talk was moderated by Kit Lykketoft, Director of Convention, Copenhagen Convention Bureau.


The Berlin Creative Tech Summit held last November 10 brought together Berlin’s most important players from the creative and tech sectors, including Microsoft, the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems, TikTok, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, EPAM Digital Services and numerous innovative start-ups. Co-curated by the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin, the event aimed to expand the capital’s importance as a high-tech location – for established global players as well as for creative start-ups from all kinds of sectors.

Photo courtesy: © Konstantin Gastmann

The dgppn Congress, the top meeting of psychiatry and psychotherapy, is taking place in Berlin from November 29 to December 2. A central forum in the field of mental health, there is a long lineup of lectures, state-of-the-art symposia, meet-the-expert sessions, and more happening both in-person and virtually.

Meanwhile, visitBerlin is currently launching the “Oder Partnership: Medical Tourism Network” project, which builds on existing bilateral contacts on both sides of the German-Polish border river, focuses on medicine, and consolidates visitBerlin’s existing commitment to medical tourism.

Cape Town

Preparations are underway for the 2024 OpenEdX Conference happening at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town from July 2 to 5, 2024. This is the first time the conference will be held on African soil. Through the Edu Invest initiative, powered by Wesgro, the agency, alongside the Western Cape Department of Education, hopes to use the opportunity and platform to drive investment into the education sector and also ignite innovation throughout the region.


Singapore is proud to have hosted the 25th World Congress of Dermatology (WCD) 2023 in July. Held in Southeast Asia for the first time, over 12,000 delegates from 150 countries came together to discuss the latest in skin research and treatment. WCD 2023 delivered several impact initiatives, including presenting five laureates with the International Award for Social Responsibility in Dermatology, which included a €20,000 grant to fund their projects, and 1,200 young dermatologists and dermatologists-in-training were provided with scholarships to attend the congress.

Meanwhile, Singapore was recognized as the “Best MICE Destination Worldwide” at the 2023 Business Traveller Awards and the “Best Business City in Asia” and “Best Business City in the World” at the 2023 Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards.


The World Travel Awards has recognized Madrid as the World’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination for 2023 for the 5th consecutive year. The World Travel Awards is globally recognized as the most prestigious honours programme in travel and tourism, showing that Madrid’s continued efforts to promote the city as one of the best destinations in the world is not in vain.

This honor comes at a most opportune time, as the Madrid Convention Bureau celebrates in annual Recognition Night this December 18. Recognition Night is an evening of gratitude for professionals who have chosen the capital of Spain as the venue for their congresses and serves as the annual finale of the MCB Ambassadors Program.


Houston airports welcomed more people into the city this year, with 7% more passenger traffic last September than last year. George Bush Intercontinental Airport brought in around 3.7 million passengers, while Hobby Airport brought in around 1.1 million.

Even employment rates in the city are improving. Total nonfarm employment in the Houston region stood at 3.37 million jobs in September, an increase of 3% from September 2022. The leisure and hospitality sector, which accounts for 10.6% of all jobs in the metro area, is up 3% over the last year.

With Houston raking in all these numbers, the Houston Astros’ entertainment district project comes at a perfect time. Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2024, with a hotel that features 300 rooms across 17 stories as well as 60,000 square feet of shopping and entertainment.

Meanwhile, Houston was ranked 8th in the list of Top 10 Best Winter Vacation Spots in the US. Houston was commended for its low travel cost and seamless travel experiences.