Korea ups its MICE ante
Korea ranks number one for global congresses hosted in 2016, according to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report by the Union of International Associations (UIA)
The result is a reflection of a strong growth by established Korean meeting cities such as Seoul, as well as the rising destinations like Busan, Jeju, and Incheon contributing to the country's increasingly diverse business events portfolio. Kapsoo Kim, Executive Director, Korea MICE Bureau, says, “These latest findings are a strong reflection of Korea's broad growth not only across the country's meetings section, but across the country itself. Established event destinations like Seoul are continuing to show their prowess, while an increasing number of regional capitals are giving global meetings planners an increasing variety of options, and so boosting Korea's appeal for congresses.”
Korea has worked hard in its effort to be synonymous with MICE for the rest of the world. From building world-class infrastructure, training manpower and ensuring smooth service to corporate groups, South Korea has arguably managed to do it all.
But there is surely space for improvement, specially when it comes to the Indian market and its unique requirements. Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) recently hosted the nation's leading business events trade show along with its 11 Regional Convention Bureaus titled ‘Korea MICE Expo 2017' – or KME 2017.
This year's 18th Korea MICE Expo was considered the largest ever expo with over 3,000 attendees from all over the world. This reflected a 21.6 per cent increase in attendance over the previous year.
The two-day expo held at Incheon's Songdo Convensia between 15-16 June, 2017 brought together 298 domestic sellers across 399 booths and more than 255 buyers from at least 29 countries, including five from India.
The Indian delegation had six hosted buyers from Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurugram and Noida and included one corporate buyer and four travel agents.
KOREA’S POPULARITY RISES
The findings show Korea as a country rising from 891 meetings in 2015 to 997 in 2016, reflecting almost a 12 per cent increase over the previous year. Making up the national equation, Seoul, maintained its third place city ranking and hosted 526 meetings in 2016, up from 494 in 2015. Now ranking in 14th place, the port city of Busan hosted 152 meetings in 2016 (increase of 1.33 per cent) and Jeju, which increased its ranking from
Seoul, maintained its third place city ranking and hosted 526 meetings in 2016
19th to 17th place, held 116 meetings in 2016 four more than 2015.
Nationwide infrastructure growth continues to bolster Korea's industry competitiveness, including new facilities such as the Paradise City integrated resort next to Incheon International Airport (itself due to open a second passenger terminal later in the year) and expansions to existing facilities such as Songdo Convensia, which are expected to finish in 2018. South Korea's tallest building, the new 555m-tall Lotte World Tower, recently opened in Seoul. The tower is also home to the luxury-brand 235-guestroom Signiel Hotel. A raft of new boutique hotels are also opening up across Korea, boosting budget accommodation options for business visitors. Meanwhile, operational services are growing in new regional hotspots, such as convention bureau established for Cheongsong in Gyeongsangbukdo Province, and establishment of the Gangwon Convention Bureau in response to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, set to take place from February 9-25 next year. Event planners have also been able to enjoy an expanded range of services and support for locally-hosted events from the Korea MICE Bureau.