The city of Pyeongchang, host of the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, recently welcomed attendees of the 6th International Wildland Fire Conference (IWFC),
which was held from October 12-16. Asia’s first IWFC event drew a strong crowd of 3,000 attendees, 2,000 of whom came from overseas. The conference took place at Alpensia Resort – one of the main sites for the upcoming Olympics.
Under the theme, “Fire of the Past, Fire in Future”, the conference provided opportunities for knowledge-sharing on fire-prevention strategies and networking among participants. Attendees included major decision makers and experts in the field from 80 countries.
Scheduled activities included various keynote addresses, presentations, discussion panels, and field study tours to areas of Gangwon-do Province that have recovered from fire damage. Of particular note was a special demonstration on October 14th of the Korea Forest Service’s “Aerial Fire Suppression System”. This gave attendees the chance to see 13 helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft conducting a rapid response to a simulated forest fire.
The week also included several on-site cultural programs, such as a performance from nonverbal troupe, The Painters: HERO, following the opening ceremony, and a concert on Day 3 comprising Jeongseon County Arirang (Korean folk song), classical music, and the traditional Korean percussion group, Taegeuk.
A range of on-site support services were provided by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) throughout the week to help international attendees learn more about Korea. A KTO booth was installed at the conference venue, displaying promotional videos about Korea and offering cultural experience programs. These included opportunities to make personalized key chains with traditional Korean designs, as well as try on hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing, in front of Korean backdrops for photographs.
In addition, KTO staff manned a special tourist information desk, with interpreters standing by to provide information about local attractions and culture. Computer terminals were also made available for participants to research Korean attractions, and they could even purchase Korean souvenirs made by local company Dure Craft at a specially-created display stall.
Located within Alpensia Resort, the Alpensia Convention Center, where the IWFC meetings were held, includes a conference hall with capacity for up to 1,700 persons. It also contains a Grand Ballroom and other spaces for a variety of events. On-site accommodation at Alpensia Resort is provided via three hotels operated by Intercontinental and Holiday Inn, which were utilized by IWFC participants.
IWFC 2015 was hosted by the Korea Forest Service and Gangwon-do Province. To learn more about Gangwon-do Province, as well as the many services and support available through the Korea Tourism Organization, visit www.koreaconvention.org.