The BestCities Global Forum is set to take place from December 2-5, 2021, in Spain, following an 18-month hiatus of in-person meetings.
The event will be rooted in legacy and inclusivity, where partner destinations and associations will be encouraged to commit to a more sustainable and socially equitable future. It will feature sessions centred on legacy and impact, with a discussion of options available for associations to collaborate with social entities and generate a legacy in host cities.
A central part of the Forum is the Madrid Challenge, a collaborative effort between partner destinations and associations.
On the first day of the Forum, destinations will be invited to sign up for BestCities’ Commitments to a Sustainable Future, a collection of recently revised Alliance standards that strive to make a positive impact in the world. BestCities destinations are audited against the Commitments annually, to ensure accountability and encourage actionable change.
Meanwhile, Associations can participate in the Madrid Movement in several ways, such as incorporating legacy into their RFPs.
Further details and actionable items will be solidified in the lead-up to the Forum, with feedback from associations solicited during events such as IMEX America, where BestCities and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) will co-host a legacy workshop.
BestCities has also collaborated with Strategic Thinkers to gain further insights for the challenge components for associations.
In addition to the Madrid Challenge, partners and associations can take immediate steps toward positive change by participating in “Engage for Good”, a Forum activity that raises funds for the Spanish Red Cross.
Delegates will earn points for event engagement, such as logging into the attendee app, posting to the digital EventStream wall, and joining the Madrid Challenge. Points earned will be channelled into financial support for the Spanish Red Cross, and the most engaged participant will be honoured with a special prize.
The Global Forum will also boast group explorations, such as a visit to the Spanish Red Cross; meals at popular eateries such as the Haciendas Club, renowned for its farm-to-table philosophy, and Posada de la Villa, a tapas joint established in 1642; and guided walking tours of Madrid.
Lesley Williams, managing director of BestCities, said: “As we return to meeting our peers face-to-face, BestCities is eager to introduce the Madrid Challenge as a key legacy-building piece for Global Forum and a road towards social and environmental change.
“We’ve designed this year’s Forum with an eye towards offering associations and partner destinations plenty of education, inspiration and motivation to incorporate sustainability and inclusivity into future conference planning. United, we can spur notable change in the meetings industry and beyond.”