Korea’s business events and tourism offerings found a captive audience at this year’s Korea MICE Expo (KME), the nation’s top business events trade show. Around 3,000 attended the 17th KME, held from June 9-10 at Songdo ConvensiA in Incheon’s ultramodern International Business District. The packed schedule provided delegates with various opportunities to network, discover Korea’s rich MICE assets, and sightsee, the latter including a visit to the future home of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.
This year’s event brought together 250 domestic sellers across 421 booths, along with 245 buyers, 170 of which hailed from overseas, particularly China and Southeast Asia. Currently experiencing a boom period for inbound incentive travel, Korea has welcomed several large corporate groups since January, including China McDonald’s, Aurance, and Kasikorn Bank. According to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), an estimated 1,720,000 people are expected to visit Korea for MICE-related purposes in 2016, reflecting an increase of almost 10% over the previous year.
Delegates also took part in several pre- and post-tour programs offered by the KTO. Among the highlights was a visit to Muuido Island, a popular site for incentive travel and team building activities, the Tesco Homeplus Academy – a zero-carbon meeting facility used for off-site training programs, and major Korean UNESCO World Heritage sites in the cities of Gyeongju and Andong.
[pullquote]“This event was a great opportunity to showcase the excellence of South Korea’s MICE industry,” said Kwak Sangseop, Director of the Incentive Travel Team at the Korea Tourism Organization. Mr. Kwak also added that the KME was a good springboard for KTO plans “to proactively support marketing activities for MICE tourism in regional provinces”.[/pullquote]
Concurrently, a separate tour for global MICE media was also conducted by the KTO, offering them a broader view of Songdo IBD, a chance to see the latest developments in the run-up to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and an opportunity to immerse themselves in Korea’s rich culture at the new K-Style Hub experience center in Seoul.