Meet the Global Winners of 2023’s Remarkable Venue Awards

Joslyn McIntyre

November 16, 2023

Each year, the Remarkable Venue Awards celebrate the very best museums and attractions, – those that go above and beyond to deliver unique experiences to travelers and culture lovers. The awards are also an opportunity for museums and attractions to inspire peers and share innovative practices. At the 2023 Remarkable Venue Awards ceremony, Tiqets celebrates its mission of bringing culture closer to travelers and creating unforgettable memories for explorers from every corner of the globe. 

Before the 2023 winners were announced, Tiqets welcomed keynote speaker Marc Mekki, an author, speaker, and coach invested in digital innovation, emerging technology, and human-centric design thinking. He spoke of the multiple ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can and will unleash the potential of the tourism industry and enhance the experiences of visitors in unique and potent ways.

Then, it came time to announce the global winners. With every passing year, it becomes increasingly challenging to choose the best experiences among so many pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation. Nevertheless, at this year’s Remarkable Venue Awards, held at the Tourism Innovation Summit in Seville, seven of the best of the best – la crème de la crème – were highlighted as the global winners. And here they are.

Most Innovative Venue: Terra Expo City, Dubai

Terra Expo City Dubai Sustainability Pavilion.
Photo by Dany Eid / Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Most Innovative Venue category recognizes museums and attractions that have found unique and original ways to appeal to customers. The 2023 winner, Terra Expo City Dubai, was represented by Marjan Faraidooni, Chief of Education and Culture. She spoke of a destination that inspires visitors with progressive environmental design, originally created for the 2021 World Expo (which actually took place in 2022). Terra has since become a permanent exhibit in Dubai, and to date, 1.8 million people have come through the doors.

As Faraidooni described, “The special thing about this place is that the building is very innovative, but the experience is also very different.” Regarding the award, she gushed, “To be here means a lot to us, and the team will be very excited to know we’ve won such an amazing award.”

Best Hidden Gem: Tulip Experience Amsterdam

Tulip Experience Amsterdam tulip field on a sunny day.

This award recognizes venues off the beaten track as well as lesser-known venues and niche museums the world needs to know about. The winner, Tulip Experience, is managed by a family company in the Netherlands who have been growing tulips for three generations. Their gorgeous grounds explode with color during tulip season, when one million flowers of 500 different varieties bloom and visitors in the know come to learn the history of the iconic Dutch activity of tulip growing and enjoy Dutch delicacies.

Representing Tulip Experience, Sylvia Pennings pointed to her father in the audience as “the tulip grower.” She said, “We’re a small business and it’s such an honor to stand here with all these big names. We are thrilled.”

Best Activity: Venice Gondola Ride with Commentary, Italy

Gondola ride through Venice's narrow canals.

The Best Activity category recognizes standout activities, experiences, and attractions. This year’s winner, Venice Gondola Ride with Commentary by Venice City Tours, offers visitors a tour of Venice’s world-renowned canals courtesy of a seasoned gondolier, who provides commentary in both English and Italian. 

The tour glides through the city, hitting all the major landmarks – the Mozart House, Le Fenice Theater, the  Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, and more – as well as some secret canals off the beaten path. Accepting the award, Caterina Pepoli, whose family business has been around for thirty years, said, “We love our city and we work with a lot of passion and love, providing always quality and innovation.” We see you!

Best Landmark: El Capricho de Gaudí, Spain

El Capricho de Gaudí landmark.
Photo by KarSol / iStock.

The Best Landmark category spans places of worship, stadiums, observation decks, and other iconic landmarks. This year, the award went to Gaudí’s El Capricho, a Spanish museum off the beaten track that attracts 200,000 visitors a year.

“As an institution, we’re small, imperfect, and a bit rebellious,” said Carlos Mirapeix Bedia, El Capicho’s General Manager, accepting the award, “and this award fills our sails with winds of hope. Traveling is the best way to connect with the world, and [greeting travelers] is what we do every day at Capricho de Gaudí.”

Best Family Experience: Zoomarine Algarve, Portugal

Dolphine show at Zoomarine Algarve.
Photo by Henrik Jensen / Flickr.

This award celebrates the best family friendly attractions that appeal to all kinds of visitors, including theme parks. The winner, Zoomarine Algarve, is a water park boasting an artificial beach, many waterslides, and a once-in-a-lifetime dolphin-swimming experience in addition to captivating wildlife displays.

Accepting the award, Hugo Brites said, “With current circumstances, we need more happiness than ever. And this is what Zoomarine Algarve does every day, providing happy experiences for visitors and families with lots of love for the animals as well.”

Best Museum: Museo Nacional do Azulejo, Portugal

Museo Nacional do Azulejo interior.
Photo by Tourism Media.

The Best Museum award features the best art galleries and museums regardless of size or fame. This year’s winner, Museo Nacional do Azulejo, is a Portuguese landmark known in English as the National Tile Museum. True to its name, Museo Nacional do Azulejo is known for its stunning collection of azulejo tiles, a distinctive style of Portuguese cultural artisanry.

The museum itself is held in the former Convent of Madre Deus building, founded in 1509 by Queen Leonor. A visit is a beautiful experience, and as Alexandre Silva Pais says, “It’s not a touristic experience, but a travel experience. It’s a museum where people go to feel what it is to be Portuguese and to travel through our history. We are very proud to be a part of such prestigious contestants and have a lot of gratitude for the people who work at our museum.”

Most Remarkable Venue: Spiritus Light Show at Igreja dos Clérigos, Portugal

Spiritus Light Show at Igreja dos Clérigos.

And finally, the centerpiece award, granted to venues that are true fan favorites, receiving phenomenal reviews on Spiritus Light Show was our grand global winner this year. A collaboration between creative studio OCUBO and the overseers of the Igreja dos Clérigos, the multimedia experience blends Baroque architecture and state-of-the-art technology into visual poetry, taking visitors on a spiritual, emotional, and holistic journey.

On behalf of the church, Father Andre spoke of how important it was to create a different kind of experience for visitors and said, “Thank you for coming to our house, and thank you to OCUBO for transforming a beautiful church into something at the next level.”

On behalf of OCUBO, Edoardo Canessa said, “We’d like to thank the Igreja dos Clérigos for a fantastic space. It’s an honor for us to create a show with our art on your fantastic architecture, and we’re very proud of this award.”

Revel in the Remarkable Venue Awards 2023

From discovering hidden gems to recognizing the finest museums and landmarks, the goal of the Remarkable Venue Awards is to shine a spotlight on the world's most beloved experiences and help them gain the recognition they truly deserve.

You can watch the entire Remarkable Venue Awards ceremony here, or tune into a panel discussion between the award winners El Capricho de Gaudí and Terra. And stay tuned for next year!

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