Seoul made a highly successful return to IT&CMA/CTW Asia-Pacific, held this year from September 29-October 1 at the Bangkok Convention Center of CentralWorld, Thailand. Attending buyers and press alike proved an enthusiastic audience for the packed itinerary of promotional activities, which were hosted by Seoul Metropolitan Government and organized by Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) throughout the three-day event.
The stand-alone Seoul booth on the IT&CMA show floor proved very popular with buyers and attendees, many of whom remarked that interest in Seoul has once again shot up now that the short-lived MERS situation is long since over. One recent TTG Asia article quoted a Seoul-bound IT&CMA buyer as remarking, “South Korea has bounced back as a hot destination for meetings because it has a rich culture, plus good and convenient meeting facilities.”
During the first day of IT&CMA, Seoul hosted a large luncheon for 286 buyers and media. This continued a long tradition of popular dining events the city has hosted during IT&CMA since 2009. The luncheon included a well-received destination presentation by Maureen O’Crowley, STO Executive Director of the MICE division. Ms. O’Crowley’s talk outlined Seoul’s many virtues as a business events host, as well as the extensive range of services and support that the city offers.
The luncheon was also supported by members of the Seoul MICE Alliance (SMA), a public-private partnership of the city’s meetings industry service providers. SMA contributions included prizes for attendees such as hotel and buffet vouchers. SMA members in attendance included unique venue Floating Island Convention (Some Sevit); Conrad Seoul, Intercontinental Hotels (Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas and Intercontinental Seoul COEX); DMC Bosuk Tours; and service providers WinPlusWin, and W&FUNENTERTAINMENT (Crazy Horse).
Ms. O’Crowley was also a panelist at the CTW keynote address held on September 29th, which presented various perspectives on the “Outlook of the Global MICE Industry”. She was joined by fellow panelist Supawan Teerarat, Vice President of the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and moderator Gary Grimmer, CEO of business events consultancy Gaining Edge.
“IT&CMA has always been important to us,” said Ms. O’Crowley speaking to TTG Asia during the expo. “It was where we got our start in 2008 when we were first established, and it feels like homecoming to us. We have been big sponsors since then, and we are again here with our own booth and sponsored function for this year’s show,” she said.
The annual strong presence in Bangkok also led to several fruitful meetings with local groups and agencies. On September 28th, STO staff met with the Korea Thailand Communication Center, an agency that promotes Korean culture in all its forms across the country. The talks led to the securing of a 500-attendee incentive trip to Seoul next year.
In addition to IT&CMA, Seoul is a regular participant at major global meetings industry trade shows, including this month’s IMEX America at Las Vegas, which took place from October 13-15. Next month, from November 17-19, Seoul will attend ibtm world 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.