The year 2016 has just flown by for Korea’s meetings industry, thanks to a productive twelve months of activity for the nation, which by early December had already welcomed over 16 million international visitors for business and leisure according to official figures. Korean infrastructure for business events has also been given global accolades, while new bid wins underscore a busy and prosperous upcoming convention calendar for the country. Below are just some of the year’s highlights, plus what lies ahead for Korea’s meetings industry.
2016 Korea MICE Alliance Conference & Awards Celebrates Industry Top Performers
In December, the top leaders in Korea’s meetings industry were showcased at the 2016 Korea MICE Alliance Conference & Awards, held from December 6-7 at Gyeongju’s HICO events center. Around 200 public and private-sector industry professionals attended the gathering to acknowledge star performers and also engage in information sessions on the present and future of Korea’s meetings industry. [Full story]
Big Bid Wins and Upcoming Events
Korea recently secured hosting duties for several major upcoming global congresses set to take place between 2020 and 2024, reflecting the country’s continuing status as a highly-in-demand international meetings destination, particularly in the science fields. The first of these will be the 28th International Congress of the Transplantation Society at Seoul’s Coex convention center in 2020 (5,000 participants; 4,500 overseas participants). This will be followed in 2024 with both the 37th International Geological Congress at BEXCO Busan (6,000 participants; 5,000 overseas participants), and the World Biomaterials Congress at EXCO Daegu (3,500 participants; 3,000 overseas participants).
Korea – Now Top 2 in UIA’s Global Meetings Ranking
In June, the Union of International Association’s latest International Meetings Statistics Report revealed that Korea had climbed to 2nd place worldwide for the 891 global congresses it had hosted in 2015. The nation’s regional centers were also found to have improved their rankings, with Seoul moving from its longstanding top-5 UIA convention city position to the top-third, Busan rising to 11th place, and popular resort island Jeju climbing to 19th. [Full story]
Korea Showcase for 25,000 International Visitors of 2016 Rotary International Convention
The news of Korea’s robust UIA ranking came just as the country hosted one of its largest global events of the year, the 2016 Rotary International Seoul Convention, held at KINTEX from May 28th – June 1st. The massive gathering united 50,000 Rotarians, of which 25,000 hailed from overseas, and included various on-site programs as well as a 3K Peace Walk through downtown Seoul and tours of Korea’s capital and beyond. Various forms of event supportwere provided by the Korea MICE Bureau. [RIC16 Official site]
Large Incentive Travel Groups Find Creative Ways to Discover Korea
2016 proved to be the year of inbound incentive travel for Korea, in part due to a series of promotional tourism campaigns across Asia by the Korea Tourism Organization conducted the previous year. A growing familiarity with everything Korea has to offer incentive groups has seen corporate visitors become increasingly creative with their reward trips, while outdoor Korean-fried chicken and beer parties proved especially popular, spurred on by a love of hallyu (Korean Wave) culture. The largest of these was a samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) party held for 8,000 employees of Chinese healthcare firm Joymain along Seoul’s Hangang River on May 5th and 9th. Divided into two groups of 4,000, Joymain staff were treated to both a banquet and live K-pop concert. [Korea-based incentive programs]