South Korea is rapidly becoming a top destination for corporate events, and the Korean Tourism Board is making significant strides to ensure that this trend continues in 2023 and 2024. From its rich culture and vibrant K-pop scene to the ever-growing number of unique venues and world-class facilities, South Korea offers a plethora of experiences that make it an attractive choice for international event planners.
In this article, we will explore the various reasons why South Korea is the most sought-after destination for corporate events in 2023 and 2024. With insights on the Korean Tourism Board's efforts to promote the country as a premier MICE destination, as well as a look into the various cultural experiences and attractions that make South Korea stand out, it's clear that the country is poised for continued success in the world of corporate events.
Korean Tourism Board: Leading the Charge for South Korea's MICE Industry
The Korean Tourism Board (KTO) is playing a critical role in promoting South Korea as a top destination for corporate events. In 2023 and 2024, the KTO will be launching the Visit Korea Year campaign, which aims to boost international visitor arrivals through a series of events, travel packages, and promotional campaigns. These initiatives will focus on tapping into K-culture and offering discounts and thematic events on flights, accommodations, shopping, and food.
K-Travel Road Show & Collaboration with Korean Celebrities
As part of its efforts to promote tourism offerings abroad, the KTO will be hosting the K-Travel Road Show in cities around the world, including New York and Tokyo. The road show will highlight travel opportunities to Korea and showcase various regions of the country. In addition, the KTO is partnering with Korean celebrities on plogging (a combination of jogging and picking up litter) to encourage eco-friendly tourism and promote different regions of Korea.
Visit Korea Year 2023-2024 100 Relay Event
In late January, the KTO will post the Visit Korea Year 2023-2024 100 Relay Event on the VISITKOREA website. This event will feature 100 cultural, arts, sports, and eco-experience events and festivals that represent Korea's unique culture and lifestyle. More exciting offerings will be periodically revealed on VISITKOREA's new campaign website, further bolstering South Korea's image as a top destination for corporate events.
South Korea's Strong MICE Pipeline and International Events Business
South Korea's successful return to the international conference and major events market is evident through the numerous high-profile bids and events coming down the pipeline. From hosting the 2025 Osteoarthritis Research Society International World Congress (OARSI) to the 2023 USANA Asia Pacific Convention, South Korea is proving itself as a leader in attracting global events.
2026 Intelligent Transport System (ITS) World Congress
Another notable event that South Korea has successfully bid for is the 2026 Intelligent Transport System (ITS) World Congress in Gangneung. Over 60,000 participants from 100 countries are expected to attend this prestigious event, further solidifying South Korea's position as a top MICE destination.
World Choir Game 2023 & 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics
In addition to these major events, South Korea is also gearing up to host the World Choir Game 2023 and the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics, which will take place in Gangwon Province. These high-profile events will further showcase South Korea's ability to host large-scale international events with ease and professionalism.
Embracing and Showcasing Unique Korean Culture and Experiences
South Korea's rich culture and unique experiences are a major draw for corporate event planners seeking a destination that offers more than just excellent facilities. From K-pop concerts and e-sports tournaments to traditional Korean food and cultural heritage sites, South Korea provides a diverse array of experiences that can cater to the interests of event attendees.
K-Pop and K-Culture
K-Pop, or Korean pop music, has become a global phenomenon in recent years, and South Korea is capitalizing on its popularity to attract corporate events. K-Pop concerts and other K-culture events are often included in event itineraries, providing attendees with a unique and memorable experience that showcases the best of contemporary Korean culture.
Traditional Korean Food and Culinary Experiences
Korean food is another major draw for corporate event attendees. With a diverse range of flavors and dishes, event planners can easily incorporate Korean cuisine into their event menus or organize culinary experiences such as cooking classes and food tours. This not only provides a unique cultural experience for attendees but also helps to foster a deeper understanding of Korean culture and history.
Cultural Heritage Sites and Historical Attractions
South Korea is home to numerous cultural heritage sites and historical attractions, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites provide a unique backdrop for corporate events and offer attendees a chance to explore and learn about Korea's rich history and heritage. From the ancient city of Gyeongju to the stunning palaces of Seoul, South Korea's cultural attractions are sure to leave a lasting impression on event attendees.
KTO's New MICE Initiatives and Support for Sustainable Development
As part of its ongoing efforts to promote South Korea as a top MICE destination, the KTO is implementing new initiatives and support programs aimed at fostering sustainable development within the industry. These initiatives include:
ISO 20121 Certification
The KTO has attained the ISO 20121 certification, which helps planners evaluate whether MICE suppliers have economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable management systems and operating processes. This certification showcases the KTO's commitment to promoting sustainable practices within the industry.
Digital Transformation Project
The Korea MICE Bureau, in partnership with regional convention bureaus and MICE companies, is working on a digital transformation project aimed at enhancing the industry's digital capabilities. This project will provide support in areas such as digital work environment creation, digital PR and marketing content production, customer management data analysis, and app and social media promotion.
Unique Venues and K-Conventions
South Korea is also expanding its list of designated Unique Venues, which are locations that showcase the country's distinct charm. These venues are primarily targeted at corporate meetings and incentive tours, offering event planners a range of exceptional locations for their events. Additionally, South Korea is fostering the development of K-Conventions, which combine unique Korean content such as K-Pop and K-Food, further enhancing the country's appeal as a MICE destination.
Korea Life Science Week: Showcasing South Korea's Sectoral Strengths
Another reason for South Korea's growing popularity as a corporate event destination is its strong sectoral strengths in areas such as life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Events like Korea Life Science Week 2022, which was held at the COEX venue in Seoul, highlight South Korea's prowess in these industries and attract thousands of international attendees.
This event featured over 135 companies presenting their latest technologies, products, and services in areas such as advanced regenerative medicine, medical combination products, AI & big data, digital therapeutics, and next-generation pharmaceuticals. With an estimated $5.1 million worth of export deals negotiated during the event, Korea Life Science Week is a prime example of South Korea's ability to host successful, industry-focused corporate events.
Seoul's Support for MICE Events
As the capital city of South Korea, Seoul is a major hub for corporate events and offers extensive support for event planners. The Seoul Tourism Organization has recently introduced a new support program that lowers the eligibility criteria for events, making it easier for event organizers to access the city's world-class facilities and services.
Some of the support measures offered by the Seoul Tourism Organization include site-inspection support, financial support for international conferences, local tour programs, and sustainable conference initiatives. These measures, along with the city's impressive infrastructure and unique attractions, make Seoul an ideal destination for corporate events in 2023 and 2024.
Venue Developments in Busan
Busan, South Korea's second-largest city and a major port, is also making strides in its effort to attract corporate events. In 2022, the city announced plans to move forward with the construction of the 3rd BECO Exhibition Centre and the SeoBusan Exhibition and Convention Centre. These new facilities, set to be completed in 2026 and 2031 respectively, will help Busan attract more international conferences and trade shows.
In addition to these new venues, Busan offers a range of unique incentive activities for corporate event attendees, such as traditional Korean paper craft experiences, Taekwondo classes, and oceanfront yoga sessions. These activities, combined with Busan's impressive infrastructure and attractions, make the city an appealing choice for corporate events.
Korea's Relaxed Qualifying Requirements for Convention Support
In an effort to attract more small and medium-sized events, South Korea has significantly relaxed the requirements for international conventions seeking support. This change, which was enacted in September of last year, extends support to events with as few as 100 participants, including 50 or more foreigners from at least three countries.
Subsidies ranging from 10 million to 60 million won are available based on the number of delegates involved, with additional support provided for events held in non-metropolitan areas, sustainable event management practices, and the use of unique Korean venues.
With its rich culture, world-class facilities, and extensive support from the Korean Tourism Board, it's no wonder that South Korea is becoming a top destination for corporate events in 2023 and 2024. From Seoul's bustling metropolis to Busan's scenic coastline, event planners can find a wealth of unique experiences and attractions that will undoubtedly make their events memorable and successful. As the Korean Tourism Board continues to invest in the growth and development of the country's MICE industry, we can expect South Korea's popularity as a corporate event destination to continue soaring in the coming years.