The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Organization boosted the status of Seoul as an international MICE city by supporting attracting, promoting and holding various MICE events in 2016. For a fun retrospective, we arranged the various MICE support of Seoul and achievements in 2016 in a fun number puzzle.
In 2016, the Seoul Metropolitan Government introduced Seoul’s distinctive tourism sites and MICE infrastructure to a total of 1,600 international meeting participants through the ‘MICE Specialized Tour’ program. The specialized tour program is a customized tour support service offered by Seoul in which the city subsidizes the costs of expert guides and chartered buses for qualifying international meetings and conferences. The MICE Tour Program was launched in consideration of the busy schedules of international meeting participants with 17 new specialized tour courses offered this year to satisfy the diverse tourism needs of meeting participants.
“Unique event at a unique venue”
The various unique venues of Seoul reflects the latest trends as meeting planners are increasingly looking for special and memorable business event locations. The Seoul Metropolitan Government supports international participants in this regard by providing financial support of 10,000 won per person for international meetings hosting an event at a designated Seoul Unique Venue. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is continuing to expand its unique venue infrastructure offering by developing and promoting unique venues within the city. Last October, 11 new unique venues were designated bringing up the total number of unique venues designated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government for MICE participants to 50. (See the related article) Meanwhile, a total of 11 international meetings received the unique venue support in 2016 with 2,700 participants.
In 2016, a total of 10 Seoul promotion booths were operated at qualifying large-scale international meetings, corporate meetings and incentive groups. At these promotional booths a variety of cultural events were offered for business event participants such as trying on Korean traditional costumes, experiencing traditional plays and opportunities to shop and purchase some of Seoul’s representative souvenirs. At the International Rotary 3K Peace Walk held at the City Hall Square last May, for example, various programs such as a rice-cake mallet game, post card writing and mailing service, a photo zone, and other events were hosted, raising the spirits and excitement of the participants. (See the related article)
MICE exhibitions offer various destination representatives and related industry figures to meet and promote towards meeting planners. In 2016, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul Tourism Organization participated, jointly and independently, in nine domestic and foreign MICE specialized exhibitions. Through them, they conducted 672 consultations with buyers considering a MICE event in Seoul.
In May, a record number of 8,000 executives and employees of the Chinese company Joy Main Science and Technology visited Seoul and enjoyed ‘a Chicken Soup with Ginseng Party’ on the Han River. At this event, samgyetang (a ginseng chicken soup) was served to all executives and employees while they enjoyed a concert that included singers of the OST for the popular Korean television drama, ‘Descendants of the Sun’. The Joy Main incentive was the biggest incentive group to come to Seoul thus far with the number of guides for the group over 140 alone. The Korea Tourism Organization estimated the economic inductive effect created by group to have been 49.5 billion won. At the dinner event, the group also enjoyed a food truck event, street performances, traditional Korean plays, a photo zone and more. During their Seoul visit, the group visited popular attractions such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, Dongdaemun Market, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Myeongdong, and more. (See the related article)
The Seoul Metropolitan Government offeres Seoul MICE Cards for qualifying international meetings with more than 1,500 foreign participants. The Seoul MICE Card is made in the form of a T-money Transportation Card, pre-loaded with 5,000 Korean won, and can be used by the holder on Seoul’s public transportation, taxis, convenience stores, and even some cafes and cosmetic stores. It offers an inexpensive and convenient option for foreign participants to explore the city more conveniently. In 2016, about 7,000 MICE cards were distributed in all, which also provided the city with data on the trends and activity of MICE participants in Seoul. (See the related article)
One essential element of a successful MICE event is having capable event-operating personnel. Competent operating-personnel perform various roles such as guiding business event participants during meetings, helping operate registration desks, interpreting/translating, and offering tourism tips. The Seoul MICE Supporters is a ‘Personnel Pool’ system designed to aid domestic and foreign PCOs and event planners in finding suitable personnel. Under the Seoul MICE Supporters system, the Seoul Metropolitan Government subsidizes half the cost per supporter for business events. Supporters are selected and trained by the city to become specialized event operating agents knowledgeable in hospitality, first aid, and more. About 600 new supporters registered for job training held in six sessions in 2016.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government provides ‘a welcome kit’ to qualifying MICE event participants. This year’s welcome kits came in the shape of a Korean lucky pouch and included △a business tour guide book, △ a Seoul map, △ a Seoul postcard set, and △ an LCD cleaner. All MICE participant of qualifying groups receives these welcome kits. In 2016, more than 58,000 welcome kits were distributed to participants of 161 international meetings and 67 corporate meetings/incentive tours.
To strengthen the city’s attraction for international meetings yet to decide on a city, the Seoul Metropolitan Government provides various support programs such as consulting, professional proposal and PT development, site inspections, support letter from governmental figures, and more. (See the related article) Thanks to these programs, Seoul attracted 31 future international meetings this year with approximately 40,000 international meeting participants expected to visit Seoul.
In the ‘2015 International Meetings Statistics Report’ presented by the Union of International Associations (UIA), Seoul came in 3rd with 494 international meetings held in 2015. This is the best standing for Seoul thus far and having risen two spots compared to the previous year. According to the same UIA report, the rankings of international meetings showed the following standing for the top five cities: 1st Singapore (736 meetings), 2nd Brussels (665 meetings), 3rd Seoul (494 meetings), 4th Paris (362 meetings) and 5th Vienna (308 meetings). (See the related article)
The Seoul media familiarization tour was held twice this year- once in the first half of the year and once in the latter half of the year. The media fam tour is a program intended for international MICE and tourism media reporters for Seoul to showcase and promote the city’s convention centers, hotels, unique venues and major tourist spots. Seven reporters in the first half of the year and another seven reporters in the latter half of the year visited Seoul. (See the related article).
Starting from the May 2016 issue, the Seoul Convention Bureau Webzine posted a total of 282 articles and published more than 90,000 newsletters. Webzine articles have been viewed 1,113,191 times and have coverd various MICE issues including MICE support programs of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, interviews with key personnel, and more. The Seoul Tourism Organization plans to continue offering interesting and meaningful articles through the Seoul Convention Bureau webzines and newsletters in 2017!