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Seoul’s Convention Calendar Fuels Economic Boom

Seoul’s meetings industry continues to yield major dividends for the capital with the recent announcement by the city that it has won approximately 100 major international conferences between 2012 and 2018. With 32 of these secured in 2011 alone through Seoul Convention Bureau assistance, the number is expected to grow significantly over the six-year period.

The Korean capital’s hosting of these international events is expected to net more than 1.3 trillion won (USD1.15 billion) in revenue for the city. Of this, 87 billion KRW (USD72 million) will have been generated from events secured with SCB help that will see nearly 30,000 foreign participants in Seoul on business. This includes an additional 3 conferences held in the city this year, which brought 1,057 foreign participants alone. The numbers are expected to grow substantially in the coming years as more international events are added to Seoul’s meetings calendar.

Of the events won with SCB assistance, 15 are major conferences with 1,000 or more participants, with one event, the 2016 General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, expected to draw over 10, 000 participants. In May, Seoul played host to the SCB-assisted 2011 World Congress of Dermatology, which was patronized by 15,000 attendees.

The successful bids are the result of strong cooperation between the Bureau and local industry association bodies, and have ensured both a sizeable economic impact for the city and further boosts to its convention profile.

“Our strong relationship with the city’s major meetings industry organisations is essential,” said Jin-Hyeok Park, Senior Director of the Seoul Convention Bureau. “This, together with the expert services we offer and a highly competitive financial support package, makes us an irresistible draw for buyers and event organisers.”

Currently the fifth most-popular city worldwide for conventions according to the Union of International Associations and winner of the TTG 2011 ‘Best BT-MICE City’ award, Seoul is enjoying a rapidly-growing international profile. It has won the right to host approximately 92% of the events it has bid for, according to government officials.

Seoul Convention Bureau support for bringing international events to the city is far-reaching. The organisation works extensively with local and international event planners to bring events to Seoul through the provision of substantial financial support and expert service, covering every step of the process from inception to completion.

This includes bidding support, English-language bidding clinics for local organisers, help with site inspections of local meetings industry venues and on-site support at event booths by experienced SCB representatives.

Expert manpower is drawn from the Seoul Convention Supporters, a large pool of trained multilingual staff. Physical promotional material includes souvenirs and literature, as well as signage in the vicinity of the event and a welcome message on the multi-cube electronic displays at Incheon International Airport.

Such support is part of the city’s comprehensive, tax-exclusive financial support package available for events hosted in Seoul, tailored to both corporate and association events (eg, congresses, symposiums, etc).