South Korea has been ranked 2nd in the world for global congresses hosted in 2015, according to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report, released this week by the Union of International Associations (UIA).
Korea offers congress and convention planners the ideal destination, as a well connected hub in Asia within a 3 hour flight of the 1/3 world's population. It is also a lead in key industries from Medical, Science & Technology, Manufacture, Energy and Agriculture, amongst the many. It also delivers for the hard to target Y and Z Gen delegates, with a popular, young, tech rich vibe.
The findings show Korea achieving 2nd place behind the USA with 891 meetings – a 40% increase over the previous year. This also places it first in Asia and accounts for 7.5% of all meetings held worldwide across the same period. The results reflect the continued, strong interest in Korea, assisted by the rise of diverse regional meeting cities within the destination.
Seoul, the nation’s capital, also notably improved its long-standing top-5 UIA city ranking, moving from 5th to 3rd place with 494 meetings held in 2015; a 98.4% increase over the 249 meetings hosted in 2014. Meanwhile, Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, attained a global city ranking of 11 with 150 meetings, while renowned UNESCO World Heritage resort island Jeju accounted for 112 of the years meetings, achieving a global city ranking of 19.
“The UIA findings demonstrate Korea’s compelling attraction for business events and travel, which is underpinned by the nation’s cultural appeal and steadily-growing MICE capabilities,” said Kee Hun Kim, Korea MICE Bureau Executive Director. “We will of course continue to work actively to make Korea a highly-competitive congress host, and a country with a wealth of destinations all featuring their own unique attractions and venues.” he added.
Nationwide infrastructure growth has played a key role in boosting Korea’s MICE competitiveness, including expanded facilities in future Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics host Gangwon Province, and the ‘Javelin spur’ of the KTX high speed train, which will connect Seoul with Gangwon Province in just over 1 hour. Elsewhere Songdo ConvensiA in Songdo, Incheon’s International Business District is expanding. There are also brand-new regional convention facilities; the new Asia Culture Center (ACC) in southeastern city Gwangju and Hwabaek International Convention Center (HICO) in the southwestern UNESCO capital of Gyeongju.
Korea’s annual convention profile regularly includes various international congresses, each of which benefit from a wide range of support programs specifically catering to large-scale meetings from the Korea MICE Bureau (KMB) division of the Korea Tourism Organization. This includes complimentary city tours for delegates, airport welcome messages, customized event banners and souvenirs, on-site cultural experience booths, and many other enhancements. Recent major events that have utilized KMB assistance include 2015’s ICN Conference & CNR, 7th World Water Forum, and 25th World Road Congress Seoul, and last month’s Rotary International Convention, attended by 50,000 participants, 21,000 of which came from overseas.
(Image courtesy of Korea Tourism Organisation)