Korea has been ranked the world’s top 2 destination for global congresses hosted in 2015, according to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report, released this week by the Union of International Associations (UIA). The findings show Korea achieving 2nd place behind the USA with 891 meetings – a 40 per cent increase over the previous year. This also places it first in Asia and accounts for 7.5 per cent of all meetings held worldwide across the same period. The results reflect continued strong interest in Korea, helped by the rise of its diverse regional Korean meeting destinations.
Seoul, the nation’s capital, also notably improved its long-standing top-5 UIA city ranking, moving from 5th to 3rd place with 494 meetings held in 2015; a 98.4 per cent increase over the 249 meetings hosted in 2014. Meanwhile, Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, attained a global city ranking of 11 with 150 meetings, while renowned UNESCO World Heritage resort island Jeju accounted for 112 of the year’s meetings, achieving a global city ranking of 19.
Nationwide infrastructure growth has played a key role in boosting Korea’s MICE competitiveness, including expanded facilities in future Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics host Gangwon Province, and ongoing expansions to recent Korea MICE Expo host Songdo Convensia in Incheon’s International Business District. Brand-new regional convention facilities include the new Asia Culture Center in southeastern city Gwangju and Hwabaek International Convention Center (HICO) in the southwestern UNESCO capital of Gyeongju.
Korea’s annual convention profile regularly includes various international congresses, each of which benefit from a wide range of support programs specifically catering to large-scale meetings from the Korea MICE Bureau (KMB) division of the Korea Tourism Organization. This includes complimentary city tours for delegates, airport welcome messages, customized event banners and souvenirs, on-site cultural experience booths, and many other enhancements. Recent major events that have utilized KMB assistance include 2015’s ICN Conference & CNR, 7th World Water Forum, and 25thWorld Road Congress Seoul, and last month’s Rotary International Convention, attended by 50,000 participants, 21,000 of which came from overseas.
According to Mr. Byungsun Lee, Director Korea Tourism Organization “We will of course continue to work actively to make Korea a highly-competitive MICE destination. South Korea is a country with a wealth of destinations all featuring their own unique attractions and venues for the MICE visitors. With our strength in infrastructure, we are positive to list our position amongst the top and most preferred MICE destinations of India as well. ”