Seoul Convention Bureau has released its latest figures, showing 40 international conference wins for the year to date that are expected to attract 35,000 delegates. The haul includes 12 large-scale conferences of over 1,000 delegates, which are anticipated to attract 25,000 delegates in total.
The figures represent an increase on 2017 figures, which saw 42 international conferences attracting 30,325 delegates secured. In fact, figures have been consistently increasing in recent years with 28 international conference wins in 2015 (24,3000 international participants) and 31 wins in 2016 (23,990).
The Seoul Metropolitan Government’s director-general of the Tourism & Sports Bureau, Joo Yong-Tae, said: “Global attention thanks to the inter-Korean summits and the growing power of Hallyu (the Korean pop culture wave) appear to be having a positive impact on preference for Seoul as a meetings destination.”
Several initiatives are also being credited for the growth including the Seoul MICE Alliance (SMA), a public-private partnership between the city and 299 MICE industry companies that participates in joint marketing and bidding.
This “group effort” was said to be a deciding factor in Seoul securing the World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 2021 in March. The conference brings together more than 2,000 doctors and scholars, and will be the first edition held in Korea and the third to be held in Asia.
Other wins this year include the 3,000-delegate American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Innovation in Oncology Symposium 2020, the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Asia Pacific Conference 2020 (2,000 participants), the IVV Olympiad 2021 (5,000 participants), the Institute of Electronic Engineers, Inc.’s International Conference on Communications 2022 (2,000 participants), the Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) Congress 2021 (1,000 participants), and the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) (1,000 participants).
According to the Union of International Associations (UIA) International Meetings Statistics Report published this past June, Seoul was the third-most popular international meetings city from 2015 to 2017. Additionally, South Korea took out the top host country spot for the first time with 1,105 recorded meetings.
“With the announcement of Seoul’s world top-three ranking as a meetings city, Seoul will strengthen its joint marketing with SMA members to attract even more international conferences,” said Joo Yong-Tae.
The Seoul MICE Alliance was founded in 2011 and added 39 new members in August, including unique venues such as Oil Tank Culture Park and S-Factory, new hotels, PCOs, travel agencies, entertainment and MICE services.