What’s New This May

Our latest roundup offers a comprehensive look at the latest happenings within BestCities Global Alliance and our partner cities around the globe. Featuring updates on key events like IMEX Frankfurt, insightful community cafes, and the latest news from our partner cities, this edition is your gateway to understanding how we’re connecting and enhancing the global meeting and event industry.

May Round-Up by BestCities - Featured Image

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Global Events: Insights from the BestCities Community Cafe

In a dynamic Community Cafe event on April 11, 2024, the BestCities Global Alliance brought together leaders from various sectors to discuss the critical importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in global meetings and events.

The webinar, part of the BestCities Madrid Challenge, featured engaging insights from industry experts who shared best practices and actionable strategies to enhance DE&I. Highlights included discussions on utilizing technology to break language barriers, updating DE&I policies to modern standards, and embedding inclusivity into event planning.

This session not only provided a comprehensive framework for advancing DE&I but also inspired attendees to implement these practices in their organizations to foster more inclusive and successful international gatherings.

For a deeper dive into the discussions and more expert insights, you can read more and watch the full webinar here.

The next online community cafes are scheduled for June 5 and November 6 and will focus on the topic of AI. Don’t miss out, click here to register your interest.

Sustainability at the Core: The Global DIY Summit’s Legacy Initiative

The Global DIY Summit, hosted in prominent BestCities destinations such as Dublin, Copenhagen, and Berlin, has become a beacon for sustainability in the DIY industry.

Launched at the 2022 summit in Copenhagen, the DIY Legacy Project focuses on sustainable and responsible business practices. This initiative has dramatically shifted the summit’s approach, embedding sustainability at its core and inspiring industry leaders to embrace environmentally conscious strategies.

The case study highlights the power of collaborative efforts in fostering a sustainable future, encouraging the industry to innovate and adapt in ways that benefit both businesses and communities.

Click here to read more and to download the case study.

Meet BestCities Global Alliance at IMEX Frankfurt 2024: Connect, Learn, and Grow Your Network

Join the BestCities team—Loren, Nigel, and Tia—at IMEX Frankfurt from May 14-16, 2024, where all our destination cities will be present too.

We’re excited to reconnect with partners, clients, and friends in the industry. Tia will be hosting a buyer group, and we invite you to start your day with us at the BestCities breakfast on Wednesday, May 15th (register here, but hurry – availability is limited).

Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with our global community and gain valuable insights into upcoming projects like the BestCities Global Forum and the BestCities Madrid Challenge.

Last Call for Incredible Impacts Programme Nominations

Don’t miss your chance to showcase the lasting legacy of your international association meetings! The deadline for the Incredible Impacts Programme nominations is June 3.

This unique initiative, organized by BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA, celebrates and rewards associations that go beyond tourism to make a significant societal impact. Whether it’s through knowledge transfer, educational outreach, or policy-maker engagement, this program highlights innovative and impactful initiatives.

A panel of independent judges from the association world will award one deserving meeting a grant of USD 20,000, recognizing their contribution to shaping a better future.

There’s also the Incredible Impacts seed fund grant of $5,000 for one winner to further support associations in their early stages of formalising their legacy initiatives.

Apply now to demonstrate the powerful impact of your association’s meeting and inspire others to integrate meaningful legacy projects into their events.

Incredible Impacts Award winner 2023
The 2023 Incredible Impacts Award Winners. Click here to read the case study.

Updates From Our Partner Cities

Here’s a round-up of the updates and events that our partner cities have planned for May onwards:


Melbourne has set a new March record for international passengers as Australian newcomer Turkish Airlines added capacity, and visitors poured in for the Formula One Grand Prix. A total of 923,065 international travelers passed through Terminal 2, up from the previous record of 916,849 in March 2018.

Overall, Melbourne had 3,016,947 people in March, with passenger volumes surpassing three million in four of the past six months.

The Asia Pacific Financial and Innovation Symposium (APFIS) was hosted at the Palladium at Crown Melbourne last April 16. Over 500 professionals from the financial services industry listened to insights from leading executives from some of the world’s largest asset managers and capital allocators. Visit Victoria and the MCB team helped deliver the event to initiate new collaborations, promote knowledge sharing, and drive innovation and change.

The World Health Summit Regional Meeting (WHSRM) was also held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from April 22 to 24. The event, which was the result of a partnership between Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and Monash University, further reinforces Melbourne’s reputation as a leading global hub for health conferences.

Melbourne Convention Bureau’s Director of Business Development for North America, Maria Rivera, attended Business Events Industry Week in Washington to hear about the latest trends in business events and network with industry colleagues and clients.

Meanwhile, Melbourne has once again been nominated as Oceania’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination at the World Travel Awards. Melbourne has won the same award in 2023, 2021, 2020, and 2019. Other nominations for Melbourne this year include Oceania’s Leading Airport (Melbourne Airport) and Oceania’s Leading City Destination.

Melbourne’s Indigenous Supplier Guide for business events also continues to be popular.  Featuring a curated directory of talented local caterers, designers, florists, performers, keynote speakers, promotional merchandisers, and more, it has been effective in driving social impact and delivering culturally rich business events.


Destination Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre’s collaboration proved to be a huge success, as shown in the Life Sciences dinner held last March 21 at the Michelin-star restaurant Burdock & Co. All guests contributed to the night’s conversation, sharing insights on bidding, winning, and hosting life sciences conferences in Vancouver.


Guadalajara has been ranked as the #1 Most Sustainable City in Mexico for 2023. The Sustainable Cities Index measures factors like economic, social, and environmental indicators, using values based on the 2030 Agenda goals.


Business Events Tokyo launched Tokyo’s Special Offers for Corporate Meetings & Incentive Travel for 2024 and 2025. Starting from 70 visitor nights, participants can choose from 30 specially selected cultural programs or performances, which include a MANGA workshop and an authentic Japanese Tea Ceremony experience. Participants will also receive a unique Tokyo Giveaway, VIP Souvenirs for important guests, and a warm airport welcome. 

Meanwhile, Business Events Tokyo will also be attending IMEX Frankfurt happening from May 14 to 16. The Tokyo booth, which will be found at stand A400, will include 11 suppliers who will help discuss updates on the latest offers and attractions regarding association meetings, corporate meetings & incentives, unique venues, and MICE Hubs, as well as other valuable information for holding successful business events in Tokyo. 

Team Tokyo gears up for IMEX Frankfurt


Real Madrid C.F. and Dubai Parks and Resorts have partnered to open the first-ever Real Madrid-themed park. Real Madrid World officially opened its doors last April 9 and features over 40 attractions that promise to bring football fans closer to their favorite players. 

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid established the Dubai Environment and Climate Change Authority to bring them closer to their goal of becoming one of the world’s top ranked cities when it comes to environment and resource sustainability. Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani has been appointed as the entity’s first Director General.

Washington, DC

In March, DDC hosted an inaugural Sustainability Summit. DDC collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the American Society of Association Executives and the local hospitality community to explore avenues to make Washington, DC’s tourism and events industry more sustainable. View the video below:

In April, Destination DC welcomed partners PCMA and Destinations International for Business Events Industry Week at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The event highlighted insights and strategies on the current landscape of the business events industry during Global Meetings Industry Day. Skift Meetings captured the event. 

Meeting Professionals International hosted a live LinkedIn discussion with Melissa Riley where she shared insights about her career, the meetings industry and the city. Beyond the Political Podium: Uncovering the Soul of Washington, DC is available to listen to for the next month.

In April, two leading conferences, the World Vaccine Congress and Quantum.Tech USA, convened experts and put a spotlight on these thriving sectors in DC and the greater Washington region. Both events leveraged intellectual capital across the DMV with speakers from federal agencies such as National Institutes of Health, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Energy and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as well as Fortune 500 companies including AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. 

Going to IMEX Frankfurt? Please stop by Destination DC’s booth and say hello to Melissa, Tara and Patty.  

Cherry Blossoms in Stanton Park in Washington DC


Houston continues to win in the field of medical and life sciences as it wins the bid to host the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership in March 2025. To be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) from March 24 to 25 next year, the ACHE Congress is expected to attract over 5,000 healthcare professionals to the city.

The reopening of “Space Explorers: The Infinite,” an interactive virtual reality experience that takes visitors to the International Space Station, is also expected to boost travel into Houston. Space Explorers will open on May 3 at Silver Street Studios at Sawyer Yards.

Meanwhile, hotel occupancy fluctuated slightly in March, ending at 66.5%, a 2.5% loss compared to the same month last year. However, there is still steady progress in the YTD numbers, with a 5.5-point gain in ADR, a 5.1% gain in RevPar, and a 5.7 gain in revenue.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is also showing progress, with a 2% increase compared to the previous year. With 352,900 jobs in total last February, an 8% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels.

In terms of air travel, the numbers continue to climb consistently. There’s a 5.7% increase in total passengers compared to last year, with a total of 5.36 million passengers by the end of March. The Houston Airport System has, so far, ushered in 14.5 million passengers year to date—a 4.1% increase from last year’s 14 million.


The Copenhagen Legacy Lab has launched a new legacy framework that creates a more strategic approach to creating long-lasting positive impact from international events held in the Danish capital. Since its conception in 2019, the Copenhagen Legacy Lab has worked with international events like the Copenhagen Gaming Week in 2024 and the Badminton World Championships in 2023.

Copenhagen’s largest venue, Bella Center Copenhagen, has recently introduced a free-of-charge climate impact report that provides its clients with a detailed overview of their specific event’s carbon footprint. This aims to achieve more transparency and enable both the venue and its clients to make informed and responsible decisions when planning their events.

In January 2024, Bella Center Copenhagen began offering its clients and organizers in-depth climate impact reports for events hosted in one or more of its halls. These reports serve as a powerful tool to benchmark events and to guide Bella Center and its clients in making informed and responsible decisions. 


The Singapore Tourism Board has launched a new global campaign to position Singapore as a leading MICE destination that can influence purposeful outcomes amid a competitive landscape. The campaign showcases how Singapore enables MICE event organizers and delegates to positively impact the industry, society, and environment by turning possibilities into reality.

In other news, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has announced the publication of the GSTC MICE Criteria. Both the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) were key contributors to this initiative.

These criteria, tailored for venues, event organizers, and events and exhibitions, aim to guide businesses in implementing sustainable practices in response to the growing focus on sustainability within the MICE industry. It also serves to provide a common understanding of sustainable practices in the MICE industry worldwide. This underscores Singapore’s unwavering commitment to sustainable tourism.

Meanwhile, Singapore hosted the inaugural Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Business of Events (April 15 to 16) and The Meetings Show Asia Pacific (April 17 to 18) at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. PCMA BOE featured 14 concurrent workshops led by 28 dynamic speakers, while The Meetings Show attracted over 1,000 MICE industry professionals and 170 exhibitors representing destination bureaus, meeting venues, hotels, technology providers, and suppliers.

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) has announced its 4.5 billion expansion plans. Construction on its fourth tower is commencing, with a targeted completion date in July 2029. The new tower will add 1,000 luxury suites to the current inventory of 2,561 rooms and suites, along with a 15,000-seat entertainment arena and additional MICE space.

The new arena will be suitable for hosting large plenary sessions and accommodating conference groups of up to 15,000 individuals in a single session. Additionally, the arena’s setup will enable more elaborate technical productions compared to the existing MICE facilities.


Team Berlin will represent the vibrant world of Berlin`s MICE industry together with 15 MICE suppliers at IMEX Frankfurt from May 14 to 16. The team will take this opportunity to connect and share insights, news, and exclusive offers as they entertain visitors at booth F010.

Sustainable Meetings Berlin is celebrating its 5th birthday on May 14 at the visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office. Since visitBerlin first embarked on a journey to transform Berlin into one of the most sustainable event destinations globally five years ago, it has gained 76 certified partners who share the same vision.

Meanwhile, May is also a busy month as Berlin hosts two groundbreaking tech events.

The Digital Finance Conference 2024 is happening on May 14. Industry leaders, visionaries, and innovators converge in the German capital to explore the latest trends, developments, and disruptions shaping the future of finance with topics like blockchain, AI, and cybersecurity.

The Greentech Festival takes place from May 20 to 22, offering a glimpse into a greener future. For three days, Berlin will once again be transformed into a center of inspiration. Europe’s largest sustainability festival will showcase and celebrate ideas and innovations from all areas – food, mobility, energy, and infrastructure.


May 2 is a special date for the Madrid region. That day commemorates the uprising of 1808 in which the people of Madrid rose up against the French occupation (immortalized in Goya’s paintings). Throughout the Madrid region it organizes many activities to celebrate it. A few days later, on May 15, it will be the city of Madrid that will celebrate its main day, San Isidro, with festivals and an extensive cultural program.

This May, Madrid will participate in IMEX Frankfurt (May 14-16) with 16 companies to continue promoting the Madrid MICE sector and spreading the news about their city.

Madrid will host the National Congress of Dermatology and Venereology – AEDV (May 22 to 25), at IFEMA, with a forecast of 2,200 participants; like the XXX Isokinetic Conference (May 25 to 27) that will take place at the Metropolitano stadium.

In parallel, the city hosts the Mutua Madrid Open (April 22 to May 5), where the best tennis players in the world will meet again. The Mutua Madrid Open 2024 celebrates its 22nd edition, after having become a two-week tournament in 2021. Madrid hosts at the same time the ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Mandatory, the only competition of this category that is held in Europe and with this duration.

Since 2009, the venue where the Mutua Madrid Open has been held is the Caja Mágica, designed by Dominique Perrault. An impressive and modern tennis complex whose main characteristic is that it has three courts with the capacity to play matches both outdoors and indoors thanks to its mobile covers.