TORONTO — Korea has been ranked the world’s number two destination for global congresses hosted in 2015, according to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report, released mid-July by the Union of International Associations (UIA).
The findings show Korea achieving second place behind the U.S. 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-five UIA city ranking, moving from fifth to third place with 494 meetings held in 2015, a 98.4 per cent increase over the 249 meetings hosted in 2014. Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, attained a global city ranking of 11 with 150 meetings, while the renowned UNESCO World Heritage resort island Jeju accounted for 112 of the year’s meetings, achieving a global city ranking of 19.
“The UIA findings demonstrate Korea’s compelling attraction for business events and travel, which is underpinned by the nation’s cultural appeal and steadily-growing MICE capabilities,” said Kee Hun Kim, Korea MICE bureau executive director. “We will of course continue to work actively to make Korea a highly-competitive congress host and a country with a wealth of destinations all featuring their own unique attractions and venues.” Kim added.
Nationwide infrastructure growth has played a key role in boosting Korea’s MICE competitiveness, including expanded facilities in future Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangwon Province, and ongoing expansions to recent Korea MICE Expo hosted at 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 international congresses. Each congress benefits from a wide range of support programs 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.