Korea now ranks in the #1 spot worldwide for global congresses hosted the previous year, according to the most recent International Meetings Statistics Report released by the Union of International Associations (UIA), reflecting the country’s strong growth. Boardroom asked Mr. Kapsoo Kim, Executive Director of the Korea MICE Bureau at Korea Tourism Organization, to explain what makes Korea such a great association destination.
Can you explain how Korea caters to international associations?
In Korea, there is a dedicated team of professionals, including local convention bureaus, convention centres, and service providers to help organize and execute business events in the country. We, Korea MICE Bureau, act as a liason between these professionals and international associations. In addition, we work closely with these international associations’ local counterpart or in the absence of which, we link them to universities and other local associations who are experts of their given field. This way, we are able to host international meetings in Korea, open an entire new knowledge pool, and also provide these associations an excellent support program – be it marketing, financial support, etc.
(the complete details of the Korea Convention Support Program can be found here.)
Can you talk about the knowledge clusters, the expertise there is in Korea and that associations can relate to?
Regional attractions add to the colorful spectrum of Korea’s MICE destinations. While Seoul, the capital city of Korea, hosts diverse international conventions, other major regions has its own cultural/touristic charm and specialized industry, making it even more appealing together with its beautiful convention centers equipped with modern facilities. This way, organizers can choose the destination that best suits their group’s needs and preferences.
In terms of MICE regions and specialized industries, among many others, I can mention Incheon and water management, Daegu and textile and water industries, self-driving cars and IoT-based wellness, Busan and offshore plants, film, and marine tourism. Lesser known but deserving destinations include Gyeonggi and IT and public safety, Gangwon and bioenergy, smart healthcare and tourism and Daejeon and science & technology, Asian wine, advanced sensors and biopharming.
(A list of local convention bureaus in Korean can be found here.)
How do you see the future of Korea as a business events destination?
Korea ranks 1st in the recent UIA International Meetings Statistics produced this June. On the other hand, Korea ranked 13th place on the latest ICCA rankings; however, Korea has exceptionally exceeded the other top 10 countries in terms of the number of international delegates where it ranked 9th with approximately 160,000+ international meeting delegates from 267 meetings.
Just by looking at these numbers, we are confident at the positive growth of the Korea as a MICE destination. Moreover, with Samsung, Hyundai, and LG becoming a household name – Korea is gaining more attention from the science and technology industry. Their technological breakthroughs highlight Korea’s great pool of industry innovators and leaders who are very much willing to address the international community through congress and scientific convention in the country. They are not only great source of innovation but are also great source of network.
In addition, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games is also contributing to the vast infrastructure development in the country, creating more accommodation options, venues, and impressive transportation network, including the speed train which reduces the 5-hour travel time from Seoul to Gangwon province to 2.5 hours!