Seoul is in 5th place for the number of international meetings in 2010 according to the recently released Statistics Report by the Union of International Associations (UIA). Since 2004, the city has enjoyed a place in the top 10, and this year’s ranking was a marked improvement from 2009.
Under UIA standards, Seoul hosted 50 more bids in 2010 than in the previous year, which moved the cities ranking up four spots within the competitive, top ten ranked meetings destinations of the world.
Established in 2008, the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) set the bar high, with the initial goal of placing the city’s rankings within the world’s top five by 2015. Since its foundation, STO has aggressively marketed Seoul as a prime destination for business tourism by steadily increasing its presence at global industry trade shows and congresses including IMEX and ICCA.
Mr. Hong Heegon, STO’s newly-appointed CEO attributed the improved ranking to teamwork. “This is welcome news for Seoul and a proud moment for STO. Our goal was ambitious; to succeed years ahead of schedule was the result of solid support and commitment from city tourism stakeholders and members of our Seoul MICE Alliance,” Mr. Hong said.
Hitting this target comes at an opportune time for the South Korean capital, now in the midst of a major expansion of meetings infrastructure capacity. This fall, the much anticipated Floating Island facility will be fully functional for conventions while seven luxury hotels are slated to open by the end of 2012. Additionally, construction of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Exhibition Center is in full swing in the Dongdaemun fashion district and looks to open in 2013.
With completion of a convention center and complex at the Seoul Station, Seoul aims to more than double its meetings capacity 2015. The center will boast Korea’s largest meetings facilities, and serve as a hub for conventions in the north side of Seoul.
With Seoul’s new infrastructure and growing recognition of its convention capabilities, the city looks to continue being a leading meetings destination in the future.
The Seoul Tourism Organization is a joint venture launched by the city and private enterprise in February 2008 with a core mission to promote Seoul as a convention and tourism destination. The Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB), a division of the STO, is the official government-sponsored body representing and promoting the city overseas as a prime venue for meetings, conventions and exhibitions. The SCB is in charge of international marketing and public relations for Seoul as a convention city.