What’s New This February?

2024 continues to shape up as an amazing year as we take the momentum up a notch this February and in the next few months. With events successfully concluded and others still in the works, this community is truly making a mark in the MICE industry and the communities around it.

Case Study: The 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) 

At BestCities Global Alliance, we undertake numerous case studies to highlight the benefits of hosting international congresses for destinations and associations alike. These studies aim to inspire and educate about the transformative power of business events, demonstrating how they can help destinations achieve their strategic goals and associations further their mission. Check out our first case study of 2024 (The 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)) below.

Nothing But Praises for the BestCities Global Forum in Melbourne

Delegates of the recently concluded BestCities Global Forum in Melbourne continue to give great feedback about the event, which serves as a testament to its success. Attendees enjoyed connecting with all 13 destinations and their peers and learning from the interactive sessions. They also enjoyed exploring different venues in Melbourne and watching the Australian Open.

Aside from the learning and networking experience that the Global Forum presented, it also gave top engagers a chance to give back to the community. Through the Engage for Good program, participants earned points by completing actions like logging in to the attendee app or taking public transport from the airport to the venue. With the high engagement during the event, BestCities Global Alliance donated up to $2,500 to Oz Harvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organization. This amount represents 7,600 meals that can be offered to struggling households in Australia.

And, of course, as part of our lifelong commitment to sustainability, we plan on planting 906 trees through our partnership with Trees4Events to make up for the emissions caused by our event. Each tree is connected to United Nations (CER) certified emissions reduction renewable energy carbon credits that is used to fund renewable energy projects across the globe.

Click below to read more about the BestCities Global Forum in Melbourne:

BestCities to Host a Buyers Group at IMEX Frankfurt

IMEX Frankfurt is three months away, and staying true to tradition, the BestCities team is excited to have a Hosted Buyers Group once again. Open to International Association representatives, the program serves as a VIP pass to one of the most anticipated annual events in the MICE industry.

We’re at the final stages of planning the annual BestCities Breakfast as well, a key feature of the Hosted Buyers Programme. As with the previous years, expect this experience to be an amazing networking and learning event.

Reach out to Tia Daniels for more information, or register today to join our hosted buyer group and get access to unique networking and learning opportunities, including our BestCities Breakfast: https://imexevents.powerappsportals.com/en-US/signin 

For European buyers, use the invitation code eyjsr4. For international buyers, use the code 8r5fc4.

Click here to read more about our presence at the upcoming IMEX Frankfurt.

Showcase Your Impact: Incredible Impacts Award Submission Open

This month, we once again spotlight the Incredible Impacts Award, celebrating associations that leave a lasting mark on the meetings industry. If your organization has driven change through innovative, impactful projects, apply for a chance to win a $20,000 grant.

The Incredbile Impacts Award shines a light on efforts in sustainability, societal benefits, or breakthrough achievements. Don’t miss your opportunity to highlight your contributions and inspire others.

The submission deadline is June 3, 2024. For more details and to submit your application, please visit incredibleimpacts.com.

Sustainable Leadership: BestCities Global Alliance Destinations in the Spotlight

The BestCities Global Alliance is at the forefront of sustainable travel, with three of its destinations earning accolades in the “Best of the Best Sustainable Destinations 2024” list.

This recognition, spearheaded by the Global Destination Sustainability Movement in collaboration with TripAdvisor, spotlights destinations excelling in sustainable practices.

Notably, Copenhagen from the Alliance ranks as number one, exemplifying the Alliance’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

This achievement highlights BestCities’ integral role in advancing sustainable tourism, demonstrating a collaborative effort with global leaders in sustainability.

Updates From Our Partner Cities

Here’s a round-up of the updates and events that our partner cities are cooking for February and the next few months:


The Madrid Convention Bureau kicked off the year with a successful MICE Familiarity Tour from January 19 to 21. They welcomed six clients from the US and four from Latin America, who met local suppliers to plan potential future collaborations.

MCB also participated in the BestCities Global Forum, where they networked and met with peers, meeting planners, and other delegates.

Madrid also participated actively at the recently concluded 44th edition of FITUR, the International Tourism Fair. The MCB built and decorated their booth using recycled and reused materials, where they showcased the different attractions worth visiting in Madrid.

Madrid Fusion is back with the theme “Where It All Begins.” This culinary event happened from January 29 to 31, with renowned chefs representing different cuisines in attendance like Alexandre Mazzia (French), Andreas Caminada (Swiss), Junghyun Park (Korean), and more.

Meanwhile, Madrid has been nominated in the 2024 World Travel Awards as Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2023. With this, MCB calls on everyone to support Madrid by voting for them in this category. Voting closes after February 4.


Melbourne hosted the recently concluded BestCities Global Forum from January 18 to 21, the second time since 2015. The event took the participants across various partner venues like the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Marvel Stadium, The Lume, and more.

Meanwhile, Melbourne is preparing to host the 31st Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) to be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from February 19 to 21. AIME is the leading trade event for the meetings and event industry in the Asia Pacific region, serving as a channel where industry decision makers connect, create and do business.


Dubai has exceeded pre-pandemic success in terms of business events, with a 49% growth in 2023 after winning a record 349 bids for international conferences, meetings, congresses, and incentive travel programmes. These events happening in the next few years are expected to bring in over 191,000 delegates from around the globe.

In terms of sustainability, Dubai continues to trend positively as the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) awards the ‘Dubai Sustainable Tourism Stamp’ to 70 hotels all over the city. This is part of the new initiative that gives recognition to hotels showing high adherence to DET’s 19 ‘Sustainability Requirements’.

Gold Tier DST Stamp Hotels winners. Image Courtesy: Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)

From a tourism perspective, Dubai stays on the path of success after being named the #1 Global Destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Destinations Awards 2024. This is the 3rd consecutive time that Dubai has won the award.


The Singapore MICE Sustainability Certification (MSC) was launched last January 24. This enhances industry standards by certifying businesses with sustainable event practices. It is built on the 2016 framework and aligns with the MICE Sustainability Roadmap, which was launched in December 2022 by providing sustainability standards and a certification framework that the industry can readily apply.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines announced new direct flights and won Best Airline for Business Travellers World Wide by Business Traveller Germany and World’s Best Airline by Business Traveler USA. Travelers can also look forward to new non-stop routes between Singapore and London’s Gatwick Airport from June 2024, and Singapore and Brussels from April 2024.


Dublin continues to start 2024 with a bang. The Association for Computer Machinery has announced Dublin as the host for the ACM Web Conference 2027. The event is expected to attract approximately 1500 delegates.

This February, the 2024 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship will bring teams and fans from all over as Ireland hosts three of the games. With the series starting on February 2, Ireland will be competing at the Aviva Stadium against Italy on February 11, Wales on February 24, and Scotland on March 16.

aviva stadium dublin

In terms of sustainability, Ireland is introducing a new deposit return scheme on February 1. Plastic bottles and aluminum cans can be returned, and a small refundable deposit can be redeemed against purchases at participating stores.


2023 was a record year for Houston airports, with over 47.6 million domestic passengers traveling through both Bush and Hobby Airports and around 12.5 million international passengers. 

As for Houston’s hotel market, 2023 proved to be a stronger year compared to 2022 across most key performance indicators (KPIs). Occupancy was up by 5.6%, while ADR increased by 6.3%. Revenue also increased by 11.9%.

In November 2023, leisure and hospitality employment was up by 1% compared to the year prior. With leisure and hospitality covering accommodation, food, arts, entertainment, and recreation, the job count is up by 4% compared to 2019.

Meanwhile, The Times has featured Houston as the most exciting city in America’s Deep South. The mix of space heritage, cowboy culture, and dazzling art scene was mentioned as one of the reasons why the city should be on top of travelers’ lists.

Houston’s food scene also gives visitors more reasons to stay longer, with 11 Houston chefs and restaurants receiving semifinalist nominations for James Beard Awards this year. 


Copenhagen has confirmed hosting four congresses this year, each bringing 250 to 4,000 participants. One of the confirmed congresses is the BIR – World Recycling Convention 2024, which will take place from May 27 to 29.

Copenhagen has also been named The World’s Most Sustainable Destination in Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards – Best of the Best 2024, reaffirming the city’s commitment to sustainability. The award is based on data from the Global Destination Sustainability Index and feedback from travelers who have visited Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II has stepped down after a remarkable 52 years of reign, leaving the throne for her son, HRH Crown Prince Frederik. As home to one of the world’s oldest monarchies, Copenhagen invites visitors to visit one of the city’s many castles or simply walk the streets near the Royal Palace.


The Business Events Tokyo team will be attending AIME 2024 from February 19 to 21 to promote their city as a venue for business events. You can visit them at booth F20 and find out more about the unique venues, MICE hubs, and more.

You can also find out more about their future events and initiatives through this link – https://businesseventstokyo.org/ 

AIME Business Events Team delegation for Tokyo

Washington DC

Washington, DC, participated in the 2024 PCMA Convening Leaders held from January 7 to 10, where they discussed development and sustainability updates. This was accomplished by highlighting the Only One DC campaign and by providing examples of the benefits of meeting in the US capital.

The Only One DC campaign also with Destination DC’s Connected Capital positioning. To access whitepaper resources, follow this link: https://washington.org/meetings/connected-capital 

Destination DC’s Senior Vice President for Convention Sales and Services, Melissa Riley, has joined the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) board as a representative of their Destination Marketing sector. Her almost three decades of experience in the travel and hospitality industry will no doubt allow her to contribute a wealth of knowledge and insights to the community.

Meanwhile, Destination DC’s weeklong flagship program, Global Marketplace, was held last January 24. With representatives from Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, and the UK, the event provided insights into international leisure and business event travel.

DDC hosted its first annual Ambassador Circle Award Luncheon during Global Marketplace. The awards recognize distinguished leaders, innovators, and researchers who position Washington, DC, as a premier destination for global excellence and innovation.

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center was recently awarded Best Customer Service by Exhibitor magazine for the fifth year in a row. The center is undergoing a $15 million restroom renovation and green roof landscaping for greater energy efficiency and stormwater management.

Two new upscale hotels have also opened in the heart of the city: the rebranded Westin Washington, DC Downtown and the Royal Sonesta Washington, DC Capitol Hill. This and other city developments continue to position Washington, DC, as a premier destination for MICE events. 

These developments and awards couldn’t have come at a better time, as DC continues to attract organizations looking for venues for their upcoming events. The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), for example, has selected Washington, DC, for its 2025 Congress. 


TimeOut magazine has placed Berlin in 3rd place on their list of best cities in the world, mentioning the bike lanes across the city and the 82% approval rate for Berlin’s nightlife in the annual feature.

Also adding to the German capital’s recognition is the Bronze Award for Best Event Format given by BrandEx Awards for last summer’s BESTIVAL 2023. With more than 1,000 guests from the tourism and event industries, it was the world’s largest showcase event of a destination.