The South Korean government will focus on the MICE industry next year, with the launch of the ‘2012 Korea Convention Year’.
The scheme was devised to further the development of the country’s events industry, which the Korean government has been nurturing as one of its strategic new-growth industries.
Various programmes by the country’s Ministry of Culture & Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in cooperation with seven MICE alliances have been planned in regional convention destinations, with the aim of providing better services and support to MICE participants and organisers.
In addition, the 2012 Korea Convention Year has been scheduled to overlap with the final year of the Visit Korea Year 2010-2012 campaign to boost the number of inbound tourists to Korea. Throughout the year, authorities will double support for the industry, while hotels and convention centres will offer discounts to MICE clients.
According to Evelyn Ko, Global Marketing Manager for the KTO, South Korea’s aim is to be in the world’s top five MICE destinations.
MICE space in the country has expanded 70% since 2000, and more facilities are being developed in key hubs to boost the industry. These include the Korail Convention Center, which at will become the country’s largest convention centre when it opens in 2015. Projects directly benefiting the 2012 Korea Convention year include the expansion of Busan’s BEXCO convention centre to 213,800m² in June 2012, and the completion of the 85,000m² Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Exhibition Center this year. The KINTEX centre in Gyeonggi-do has recently been expanded to 108,000m², while Deagu’s EXCO convention centre has doubled in size to 22,700m².
Ms Ko also revealed that Seoul’s COEX facility is now fully booked for the next two-to-three years.