What’s New This January?

It’s a new year, and we’re off to a great start! After an eventful 2023 filled with milestones, we’re looking forward to an even bigger and better 2024 as we continue to make more impact not just in the global MICE industry but also in the communities around us.

Creating Connections at the BestCities Global Forum Melbourne

After much anticipation, the BestCities Global Forum is finally happening this month from January 18 to 21 in Melbourne. With the theme “Meeting the Challenge: Creating Connections with Purpose,” the BC Head Office team and partner cities are excited to meet with clients, partners, and the media. 

There is a long list of informative sessions and engaging social gatherings, but one thing everyone looks forward to this year is experiencing the Australian Open. The Forum is traditionally held every December, but this year, BestCities has decided to maximize everything Melbourne has to offer, pushing the event to January so it coincides with the much-anticipated sporting event.

Gearing Up for IMEX Frankfurt 2024

After the 2023 run was dubbed “the World Cup of IMEXs,” expect IMEX Frankfurt 2024 to be even more exciting. 

BestCities Global Alliance is, of course, opening up more opportunities for everyone to network, connect, and learn how to make an incredible impact, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or a pro. We’re setting the stage for this through our Hosted Buyer group and the #BestCitiesBreakfast session, which you can join by reaching out to Tia Daniels at tia@bestcities.net

Stay tuned as we’re also in the process of updating the 2024 event calendar, where you can see where to meet BestCities and the partner cities. 

The BestCities SBD Group with Tia Daniels and Lesley Williams at IMEX Frankfurt 2022

2024 Incredible Impacts Awards Submissions Now Open

Fresh off the 2023 Incredible Impacts Awards announcement of winners, we’re kicking off the next run straightaway. Submissions for both the 2024 Incredible Impacts Award and the Incredible Impact Seed Grant are now welcome until June 4. Three candidates will be shortlisted from these submissions, and the chosen ones will be presenting their cases at the 2024 ICCA Congress in Abu Dhabi.

For more info, visit incredibleimpacts.com 

2023 Awards Round-Up Now Published

2023 has been an epic year for BestCities Global Alliance, and our partner cities, something made evident in our recently published 2023 Awards Round-Up. Check out this page to see the amazing achievements that this community has cemented into MICE history.

Updates From Our Partner Cities

Here’s a round-up of how our partner cities are making an impact as they welcome a fresh new year:


Houston is starting the year in anticipation of exciting hospitality projects for 2024. These projects include:

  • Hotel Saint Augustine, a 71-room boutique hotel opening this year in the Montrose neighborhood
  • Thompson Houston, a 35-story development opening this month above Buffalo Bayou’s south bank
  • Great Wolf Lodge Texas Gulf Coast, a mega resort opening in November in Webster
  • Meow Wolf’s permanent art installation in the former Moncrief-Lenoir Manufacturing Co. building
  • Birds of the World, a new exhibit at the Houston Zoo opening later this year

To see a full list of other developments opening in Houston this year, visit this link: https://www.houstonfirst.com/news/houston-hospitality-projects-coming-in-2024 

2023 was also an eventful year with eight new hotels, adding 1,150 rooms to the city’s current count. This places Houston 4th place in terms of cities having the biggest number of new properties in the US.

With Houston zooming ahead at full speed, it’s not surprising that the annual employment forecast expects a growth of over 57,000 jobs this year, especially in the leisure and hospitality sector. Even air passenger traffic is on an upward trend, with Houston airports showing a 12% year-over-year increase.

Houston’s hotel market finished strong with a 57.1% occupancy rate in November 2023, which is a 0.8% increase from the year before. Average Daily Rate (ADR) was also up by 4.2%.


Tokyo says goodbye to 2023 and welcomes 2024 with this start-of-the-year greeting:

“At the beginning of the new year, the Business Events Tokyo team wishes all our clients, partners, and colleagues a successful year and looks forward to working together in 2024.”

Tokyo finished 2023 strong by ranking 3rd in the 2023 Global Power City Index published by the Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies. Accomplishing this achievement for the 8th year in a row, Tokyo increased its Livability score by improving on two areas — Cost of Living and Cultural Interaction.


e Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has a strong, healthy pipeline of business events for the State, successfully acquiring 133 business events from now until 2028. These events are expected to deliver more than $698 million to the Victorian economy, close to 137,000 delegates, and over 365,000 room nights – enough to fill the city 15 times over. This impressive start to the financial year is on the back of strong results for 2022-23 that saw MCB exceed all targets – validating Victoria’s position as a premier global business events destination.

Future events booked include the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit, the PDA Asia Pacific Regulatory Conference, and the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, among others.

To celebrate a successful year, the MCB recently held a cocktail event for Team Melbourne, the diverse group of people and organizations they collaborate with to win and deliver outstanding business events for the city. Held at the State Library Victoria, the event was attended by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, RMIT University, the Clean Energy Council, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and more.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) recently achieved Platinum Certification through EarthCheck, making it one of only six convention centers in the world to achieve this status. The MCEC is one of many progressive and innovative business event suppliers in Melbourne, leading the way in sustainability and driving positive impacts.


Singapore conquered 2023 with its packed calendar of MICE events in the last few months of the year, with highlights including the World Conference on Lung Cancer 2023, where more than 5,500 researchers, clinicians, and professionals in the field of lung cancer and thoracic oncology gathered to discuss the latest research and advancements in the field; and the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, which Singapore hosted for the fourth time and convened over 500 global leaders to discuss the future of the global economy.

Going into 2024, Singapore and China will put in place a 30-day mutual visa exemption agreement early in the year. Both countries also plan to work together to increase the number of direct flights to boost demand among both business and leisure travelers.


Dublin has been awarded the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024, beating 40 destinations from 21 countries. Dublin impressed the European Jury not only with its remarkable achievements across all four categories of the competition but also with the outstanding programs of activities they intend to execute during 2024.

Dublin is also kicking off the year with the highly-anticipated Tradfest, a joyful celebration of Irish music and culture happening from January 24 to 28. As part of the celebration, there will be over 50 live musical events happening in some of the best pubs and key historical landmarks throughout the city.


The visitBerlin team kicks off 2024 with a new-year message to the community:

“Happy New Year! The team of visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office wishes a 2024 filled with joy, successful business, and many personal encounters. The new year brings numerous highlights to the German capital that attract national as well as international guests.”

Berlin has started prepping for this year’s highlight in their sports calendar, the UEFA Euro 2024 taking place from June 14 to July 14. With the theme “United by Football – United in the Heart of Europe,” Germany will be hosting the tournament across ten venues, with the Olympiastadion in Berlin hosting three group-stage matches, along with one Round of 16 and one Quarterfinal.

Brandenburger Tor as a soccer goal
Copyright: Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH

In the fall, Berlin and the rest of the world will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which happened on November 9, 1989. To commemorate one of the most significant events in recent history, a series of events and ceremonies featuring distinguished international guests will be held at this year’s anniversary.


Madrid has been recognized as the “World’s Leading Meeting & Conferences Destination” at the 2023 World Travel Awards, the 5th year in a row that the Spanish capital has received the accolade. 

Meanwhile, the Madrid Convention Bureau graced the IBTM Events in Barcelona last November together with 24 partner companies to demonstrate why #Madrid is one of the most appreciated destinations for events and professional meetings in the world. The MCB kicked off the gathering with a networking event on the first day, collaborating with Hilton International and bringing together over 200 international clients at the Hilton Diagonal Mar Hotel. 

To close off the year, the MCB held the 16th edition of Recognition Night last December 18. This annual event is a tribute to the professionals who promote the capital as a congress venue. As part of the event, the City Council honored representatives from 13 of the most prominent conferences hosted by Madrid in 2023, including ESMO.


Dubai hosted the COP28 from November 30 to December 12, bringing in over 70,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries. The gathering aims to pave a new path for the world by putting together initiatives to accelerate climate action.

COP28 was held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre and the wider Expo City Dubai, which was originally built for Expo 2020 Dubai and continues to be important for the city’s business events ecosystem.

On the sustainability front, the Department of Economy and Tourism will lead an ambitious new marine reef development project, which is part of the city’s efforts to increase fish stocks, support sustainable fishing, and boost food security. This will also play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions and increasing marine biodiversity.

Expo City Dubai
DUBAI, 18 September 2013. Aerial view of Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai)