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Korea Convention Bureau

Korea’s strong cultural traditions are a big attraction for international MICE planners

Korea welcomes your MICE group
The most exciting country in Asia will give your international delegates the experience of their lives
elcome to Korea, a country with the capability, expertise and the proven track record to ensure that your next MICE event will be successful, memorable and rewarding. Korea’s colourful characteristics are unique to both Asia and the world, many exciting experiences await your group. Korea’s blend of traditional and modern venues, world-class service and a highly educated population will deliver an excellent experience for international conferences, exhibitions and incentives. Enormous variety Korea’s wide range of regional differences give MICE organisers the advantage of being able to select the most suitable city for their event or conference. “Business events groups are amazed by the unique charms found in each region of Korea,” says Kun Soo Kim, executive director of Korea Convention Bureau. “But regardless of where they choose, they will enjoy a special variety of sightseeing destinations, food and entertainment.” Excellent venues Korea has countless unique sites and venues available for MICE events and


theme parties. These include historical palaces, ancient temples, galleries, Korean-style mansions and gardens, theme parks and sports stadiums. Traditional cuisine Kimchi, bulgogi, rice cakes – one of the highlights of any Korean itinerary is the brilliant food on offer for visitors. Yet despite this passion held by Koreans for their national cuisine, Western and other international restaurants are readily available and easily found in all cities. Royal past Korea’s traditional culture is top of mind for most MICE planners. Unique programmes such as taekwondo training courses and temple stays will not only enrich your

events, but also leave your participants with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “The Korea Convention Bureau can recommend programmes and activities that complement the nature of your event or conference,” says Kim. 24-7 excitement Shopping in Korea is truly a triple pleasure; high-quality merchandise, low prices, and eye-opening variety. The sheer number and variety of shopping arcades, department stores, duty-free shops, specialised shopping districts and outdoor markets will be enough to keep your group busy for weeks at a time. “Visitors are impressed with the dynamism of Korea and the country’s nightlife, which is representative of the vibrant energy and passion of Koreans,” says Kim. Great destinations Perhaps your international MICE group wants to experience the future of Korea in the newly built sustainable city of Songdo (page 10), the excitement of the Korean capital Seoul (page 5), or the cultural centre of Gwangju (page 8). Wherever you go, we look forward to welcoming you, your friends and partners to discover all that Korea has to offer! ■

Seoul offers a mix of modern and cultural icons

Korea hosted nearly 300 international association events in 2008

Star Brand will set global standards
Three-year global MICE campaign set to attract more international MICE groups to Korean cities


orea has been ranked the world’s 12th most-popular destination for international meetings, confirming its world-class reputation for business events. The country jumped three places on the Union of International Associations (UIA) rankings after hosting nearly 300 international association events last year, an increase of 10 per cent since 2007. Korean cities also featured highly on the list. Seoul was ranked seventh globally, while Busan jumped to sixth in Asia and Jeju came in at number eight. Changwon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gyeongju and Gwangju also made their debuts on the Asian list. International association conferences recently held in Korea include the 9th World Congress on Sleep Apnea (1,500 delegates), WBC 47th Annual World Convention (3,500), 14th AsiaPacific Retailers Convention & Exhibition (3,000) and the 2009 Herbalife Extravaganza (25,000). Building success Keen to build on this success and the momentum generated by this year’s MICE Expo, Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) will launch its three-year global MICE campaign in 2010 via its 27 branch offices in 17 countries.

Linda Womack, marketing manager for KTO, says: “The Global MICE campaign is all about raising awareness, reaching the right corporate buyers and meeting planners on a global scale, at the beginning of their destination selection phase. This campaign will convince our targets to look at Korea as a viable destination for their next MICE event.” Global brands Korea is home to many well-known global brands, such as Samsung, LG, KIA Motors and Hyundai. KTO will use the reputation of these brands to develop an annual convention in Korea. From next year, KTO’s Star Brand Convention project will support regional convention bureaux and regional tourism offices that host approved conventions and events. The selected Star Brand conventions will receive assistance with strategy, finance and domestic and international publicity. Womack says: “The top 10 Star Brand Conventions will grow and gain recognition as the premier MICE events to attend. Our vision is to create a convention platform to equal that of the Davos Forum held annually in Switzerland.” Global MICE Campaign and Alliance Running alongside the Visit Korea Campaign scheduled for 2010-2012, the Korea

Convention Bureau (KCB) will launch a global campaign to promote the country’s MICE industry. The Korea MICE Alliance will provide more detailed support to buyers, together with integrated promotions to help showcase Korea’s attractions as a destination for international MICE events. Initiatives for next year include special discounts to MICE participants on the Alliance’s products. At the end of the three-year campaign, KTO says the domestic industry will be globally competitive and will attract more international events to the country. ■

UIA rankings explained
The Brussels-based UIA publishes annual rankings of the world’s most popular cities and countries for international MICE events. In Korea, business events are a major economic indicator and MICE services are one of 17 higher value-added industries the government wants to develop as a national growth engine. “We know new venues have opened recently. The market is coming to the fore in Korea,” says Joel Fischer, head of the UIA’s congress department.



The Korea MICE Expo 2009 will show off the meetings skills and conference facilities that helped the country climb to 12th spot in this year’s UIA rankings

International event skills on display
Korea’s showcase MICE event at Songdo ConvensiA will welcome 3,000 participants from around the world
he Korea MICE Expo celebrates its 10th anniversary this year by hosting 200 buyers, more than 3,000 participants and debuting the brand-new Songdo ConvensiA in Incheon. Formerly known as the Korea Convention Fair, the Expo will be held on November 10-11 and is co-hosted by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and the Incheon Metropolitan City Government. Seoul will host the Expo for the next three years. The Expo will give Korea the opportunity to show off the conference facilities that helped it climb to 12th spot in this year’s UIA rankings for the world’s most popular country for global meetings. “It’s a chance for international exhibitors to learn about the newest trends in the Korean MICE market,” says Ok-Ja Shin, director of the conference’s business events promotion team. “They can network with other Korean MICE sellers and enjoy sales opportunities through buyer-seller meetings.”


International exhibitors Overseas tourism bodies – including the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Singapore Tourism Board and Japan National Tourism Organization — will exhibit at the Expo. Convention bureaux from the Korean cities of Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, Gwangju, Daegu, Busan and Jeju will also exhibit, as will local hotels, DMCs, resorts and casinos. “We expect many MICE organisers to visit this event and express their interest in Songdo and Korea,” says Adam Simkins, general manager of Hyatt Regency Incheon. “It will be a good opportunity to provide them with valuable information, helping them understand that Songdo is the perfect place for MICE events.” One of the Expo’s programmes will be the MICE Knowledge Forum on November 10-11, which will examine the forces driving Korea’s competitiveness as a business event destination. Shin says: “The speakers and panel will

be drawn from the world’s business and academic communities, so attendees can understand global trends and boost their professional knowledge of the MICE industry. The sessions are open to all attendees and will be conducted in English.” Hosted buyers The Expo will target 60 overseas buyers and 150 Korean companies. Interested attendees should register via email. “Overseas buyers will be fully hosted by KTO,” says Shin. “This includes airfares, accommodation, meals and tours, so guests can get to know Korea and its key MICE players better.” The two-day event will also include the annual meeting of the Korea Convention Council. The 29 members of the council represent a number of MICE organisations including the Korea Convention Bureau, local convention bureaux, convention centres and airline companies. ■


Modern facilities and cultural icons
Seoul is well known as a global MICE city thanks to its excellent service standards and international appeal
eoul’s unique blend of culture, history and hi-tech facilities is rivalled by few cities, making it one of the world’s most popular venues for MICE events. With 17,000 deluxe hotel rooms and 14 convention facilities accommodating more than 1,000 delegates each, it’s little wonder the city has increased in popularity since Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) was formed in February 2008. Business incentives Seoul’s flagship venue, the Convention and Exhibition Centre (Coex), has 51 meeting rooms that can be subdivided into 89 smaller rooms and four exhibition halls. Coex’s newest addition is an 808-seat theatre, the Coex Atrium. “Seoul is the world’s seventh mostpopular city for international meetings, according to the Union of International Associations’ rankings,” says STO president and CEO Samuel Koo. “We want Seoul to be the MICE industry’s world leader.” To attract international conferences, the


Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB), a division of STO, and the city of Seoul are offering incentives of up to US$43,000 to meeting planners keen to host events in the city. The amount of financial support will depend on the number of guests and the economic importance of the event. The SCB also offers support with bidding proposals and conference promotion materials. To support the industry, SCB last year initiated its Volunteer Support Programme with more than 700 Koreans who speak English, Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Russian. These volunteers offer help in secretariat and operational duties for a range of MICE–related events. Language skills “Many volunteers are university students with overseas experience who are currently enrolled in language programmes or convention-related fields,” says Koo. “They have undergone intensive training and specialise in various services, which is a big factor in running MICE events seamlessly and successfully.”

Recent large conventions include the Seoul International Dental Exhibition and Conference that drew 25,000 attendees, the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy, and the 18th World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. International hotels The five-star 185-room Park Hyatt is located opposite Coex. Next year, the Banyan Tree Hotel and Resort will open its first Asian city club in Seoul. Bucking the high-end trend is the 284-room Lotte City Hotel Mapo, which opened in April. Lotte was the first local five-star hotel chain to launch a low-budget option, with room rates a third of those at five-star hotels. Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Times Square also recently opened. Seoul offers traditional charm as well as hi-tech modernity. One of the city’s finest venues is in the forests of Mount Bukasan near downtown Seoul. Samcheonggak is a complex of pavilions originally designed to entertain high-ranking government officials and international guests. Its eight halls can seat between 30 and 200 guests. ■

Cultural performances at Samcheonggak are popular with MICE groups (above); Coex has unveiled a new 808-seat theatre called Coex Artium (right)




The true flavour of Korean culture
Art, culture, cuisine and business – Gwangju promises good experiences for international MICE groups
amous as a cultural and culinary hub, Korea’s sixth-largest city, Gwangju, is a favourite destination for business events. “Gwangju is the cultural heart of Korea, as well as a world-class international convention city,” says Woong-Il Choi, secretary general, Gwangju Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since 1995, it has hosted the Gwangju Biennale, a two-month contemporary art exhibition that invites international artists to display their work. This year, Gwangju Design Biennale will look at aspects of Korean culture under the title ‘The CLUE’. Another notable festival is the annual Gwangju Kimchi Festival, which celebrates Korea’s most famous dish and draws visitors from across the globe. Ambitious destination While art, culture and cuisine are at the centre of Gwangju, it is also an ambitious and successful business centre. It aims to become a hub for a range of Korean industries, including cars, electronic appliances and photonics.


Choi says: “Next year, Gwangju will host the World Photonics Expo to promote the photonic industry and offer opportunities for famous global photonics enterprises, scholars and overseas and domestic cities to share knowledge.” The Expo will be held from March to April at KimDaejung Convention Centre and surrounding areas. Opened in 2005, KDJCC is named after the former Korean president, Dae-Jung Kim, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Gwangju native. The venue has 10,800 sqm of exhibition space, a convention hall capable of holding 1,500 people and 10 meeting rooms that can accommodate 700 attendees. Rounding off the year will be the annual SWEET Fair (Solar, Wind and Earth Energy Trade) at the KDJCC, hosting 143 companies from 17 countries. Other meeting facilities in Gwangju include the Oryong Building at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, which often hosts large science and technology conferences, Chonnam University’s 5,000 sqm auditorium and

the Science and Technology Cooperation Centre, which offers a good venue for medium-sized international meetings. Global resources Few cities would have the resources or skills to host events like the four-week conference expected to attract two million visitors from 50 countries, but Gwangju, a world-class international convention city, has the backing of the Gwangju Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2011, the city will host the UN Urban Environmental Accords Cities Summit Meeting. In 2014 it will host the World Hydrogen Energy Conference, which is expected to draw 2,000 participants from 50 countries and, in 2015, the Summer Universiade that will bring together the university students from across the world. With accompanying facilities at the Grand conference room, the businessoriented deluxe hotel provides convenience and high-quality services to its guests. Near the convention centre are accommodation options including five-star hotels. ■

Gwangju will host next year’s World Photonics Expo (above); the annual Gwangju Kimchi Festival attracts visitors from across the world (right)




Songdo ConvensiA will host more than 200 events this year. It offers 4,020 sqm of pre-event space and conference rooms in a range of sizes

Fantasy becomes reality in Songdo
Everything is bigger and better with world-class facilities in Korea’s first free economic zone near Incheon Airport
he new city of Songdo, set to become a leading international venue for MICE events, also lays claim to being the world’s first purpose-built sustainable city. “Songdo is located in Korea's first free economic zone,” says Heui Jeong Han, assistant manager of the operations team at Songdo ConvensiA, Incheon Tourism Organisation. “The MICE industry at Songdo will play an important role in the trade and cultural exchanges needed for the development of the free economic zone.” New facilities The world-class convention facility Songdo ConvensiA opened in July at a cost of US$120 million. “ConvensiA offers 4,020 sqm of pre-event spaces and conference rooms in a range of sizes,” says Han. “There is also 8,410 sqm of exhibition space partitioned into two areas.” More than 200 conventions and exhibitions will be held at the centre in 2009,


including the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in September. ConvensiA will host the Korea MICE Expo in November, with 200 hosted buyers and more than 3,000 participants. Songdo is a one-hour drive from downtown Seoul. The Incheon Bridge also connects Songdo to Incheon International Airport in just 15 minutes. “Korea now has the perfect place for international business events in Songdo, thanks to its accessibility and facilities,” says Adam Simkins, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Incheon. Sustainable environment The highest environmental standards were applied to the design and construction of Songdo. Standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System (the US Building Council’s international certification), were followed to ensure the development is as green as possible, with an eye on reducing emissions and energy waste.

The impressive leisure facilities include a 40-hectare park, modelled on New York’s Central Park, next to the ConvensiA. Songdo will comprise an international business district, information industry complex, hi-tech bio complex, high-tech industry cluster and the Songdo Landmark City with a population of more than 250,000. Hotel offerings August saw three new hotels open in Songdo. The 322-room Sheraton Incheon is next to Songdo ConvensiA, the 240-room BENIKIA Premier Songdo Metro is within walking distance and the 300-room Best Western Premier Songdo Park is five minutes away. By the time Incheon hosts the Asian Games in 2014, 13 new hotels are set to open. The 523-room Hyatt Regency Incheon is conveniently located next to Incheon International Airport. There is also the recently renovated 175-room Paradise Hotel and the 110-room Royal Hotel. ■


Contact list for Korea
Key organisations and venues for your next conference, exhibition or incentive
CONVENTION BUREAUX Korea Convention Bureau (KCB) Tel +82 2 7299 553~559 Email Web Busan Convention & Visitors Bureau Tel +82 51 740 3600 Email Web Daegu Convention & Visitors Bureau Tel +82 53 601 5290 Email Web Daejeon Convention & Visitors Bureau Tel 82 42 821 0100 Email Web Gwangju Convention & Visitors Bureau Tel +82 62 611 3624 Email Web Gyeonggi Tourism Organization Tel +82 31 259 6954 Email Web Incheon Tourism Organization Tel +82 32 220 5071 Email Web Jeju Convention & Visitors Bureau Tel +82 264 739 1804 Email Web Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) Tel +82 2 3788 0821~24 Email Web CONVENTION CENTRES BEXCO (Busan Exhibition & Convention Centre) Tel +82 51 740 7347 Email Web

Coex is Seoul’s flagship venue for international conferences and exhibitions

CECO (Changwon Exhibition & Convention Center) Tel +82 55 212 1002 Email Web Coex (Convention & Exhibition) Centre Tel +82 2 6000 1121 Email Web Daejeon Convention Center (DCC Korea) Tel +82 42 481 0114 Email Web

EXCO (Daegu Exhibition & Convention Center) Tel +82 53 601 5038 Email Web International Convention Centre Jeju (ICC Jeju) Tel +82 2 775 1092 Email Web KimDaejung Convention Centre (KDJCC) Tel +82 62 611 2226 Email Web KINTEX (Korea International Exhibition Center) Tel +82 31 810 8036 Email Web Songdo ConvensiA Tel +82 32 210 1013 Email Web

Teambuilding at Changgyeonggung Palace

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