Excitement is mounting in South Korea with the 2018 Winter Olympics set to kick off in two week’s time. International hype around the Games is also helping to attract business events, with Seoul securing two major incentive wins.
Malaysian manufacturing company, Sahajidah Hai-O Sdn. Bhd, sent 1,200 employees to Seoul earlier this month, while 1,500 Tupperware Indonesia employees will touch down in March.
The Sahajidah Hai-O delegation was divided into eight groups, with the entire programme running from January 15-22. Delegates signed up for a hanbok experience, where they toured Gyeongbokgung Palace in traditional Korean garb, as well as visits to Seoul N Tower, Namdaemun Market, and Myeongdong shopping district.
Tupperware delegates, meanwhile, will engage with a number of K-pop experiences and visit local hotspots such as Bukchon Hanok Village, Dongdaemun Market, and the Folk Museum.
Kim Jae-yong, director of tourism policy at Seoul Metropolitan Government, credits the incentive business to a refreshed 2017 marketing campaign that targeted Southeast Asia—a strategic move following economic sanctions from China and a dramatic fall in Chinese visitors.
"The success of acquiring these [corporate] groups is due to the aggressive marketing efforts of the city to attract Southeast Asian groups instead of Chinese ones,” Kim said.
"We will do our best to provide unforgettable memories and excellent hospitality services during their stay in Seoul, so that so they will want to return in the future."
To leverage attention from the Games, and diversify MICE business, Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) has carried out joint marketing activities with the Korea Tourism Organization, Incheon Tourism Organization and Gyeonggi Tourism Organization.
A number of in-country marketing campaigns were activated across Southeast Asia last year, including in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore, where customised tours and team-building programmes were introduced.