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)

Micetalk - - Contents - MT Bureau

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.

Kap­soo Kim

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