With the 2001 opening of the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO), featuringover46,500 ㎡ of exhibition space and 53 meeting rooms, Busan made a successful foray into the international convention industry. The success of APEC South Korea 2005 held in Busan catapulted the city to the status of a major international convention city in Asia. In the same year, the Busan Convention Bureau was established to ramp up the city’s MICE efforts. Other notable large-scale international conventions held in Busan that brought it to global attention as an ideal MICE city include the 2009 OECD World Forum and the 2012 Lions Clubs International Convention.
In November 2019, Busan hosted the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit for the second time in a row since 2014. Some 10,000 attendees, including heads of state, governmental ministers, and corporate representatives from countries in the ASEAN region, attended the event, where pledges for exchanges were made in various areas. Busan’s status as a hub for ASEAN exchanges was cemented when it also hosted the 1st Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit, held back-to-back with the 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit. In December of the same year, the 2019 International Diabetes Federation Congress was also successfully hosted in Busan, where a rare scene involving some 3,000 event visitors running through the city was created in a nocturnal marathon held to promote a sense of solidarity.
Beginning in early 2020, Busan has consistently adhered to Korea’s COVID-19 strategy and is hosting safe events during the pandemic. Major international events scheduled for this year include landmark events such as the Busan One Asia Festival in October, and the 30th Anniversary World Congress on Biosensors in November. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, a wide range of non-contact events made possible thanks to meeting technologies are taking place, and Busan’s MICE industries are cooperating to overcome the crisis. Busan’s safety in the midst of the pandemic is attested by its membership in the International Safe Community Network, a noteworthy feat as Busan was the first metropolitan-scale city in the world to be granted this level of recognition.
Busan’s potential for growth as an international convention city is infinite. As its milestones indicate, the city checks all the right boxes: the passion, ability, and infrastructure needed to provide the best possible international convention experience. Busan will continuously endeavour to attract and successfully host international conferences in these changing times, to become a proud and world-renowned international convention city.