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International and domestic meetings experts gathered in Seoul last Friday for Seoul MICE Week - a series of programs designed to raise awareness of business events among the general public. Hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Organization, Seoul MICE Week's main event was open to all, taking place on November 13th at The Plaza Hotel Seoul, with additional events held at Seoul City Hall.

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The day included several programs targeted at different age groups and backgrounds, especially youths exploring career options. Headlining the event was the 2015 Seoul International MICE Forum, which was held at The Plaza Hotel from 2-5.30pm and featured a welcoming address by Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon. The theme for this year’s forum was “The Future of the MICE Industry and Global Business Meeting Cities”, which examined the economic ripple effects and job creation potential of the meetings industry. It also sought to raise public awareness of the importance of Seoul’s own competitive meetings industry and its impact on the wider community.

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Among the invited speakers were event professionals from five major convention cities. These included Herve Bosquet, former director of the Brussels Convention Bureau; Samantha Allen, Vice Chair of Business Visits & Events Partnership; Laurent Chiron, Commercial Director of Viparis; George Tanasijevich, President and CEO of Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd; and Kim Eui Seung, General Director of Tourism & Sports for the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Simultaneous interpretation was provided in English and Korean throughout the event.

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"Seoul has become a top destination for the world meetings industry thanks to the combined efforts of the city, its MICE industry professionals, and its citizens" said Mayor Park during his welcoming address. "However, we are not stopping here," he added. "We are actively preparing even harder to help make Seoul a world top-3 international congress destination by 2018." Since 2010, Seoul has remained in the UIA top 5 of global convention cities, currently ranking in 5th place.

"Seoul has become a top destination for the world meetings industry thanks to the combined efforts of the city, its MICE industry professionals, and its citizens." - Mayor Park Won-soon

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Also conducted were two MICE-related educational programs specifically aimed at youths, designed to connect the potential meeting professionals of tomorrow with today’s experts. Taking place at Seoul City Hall from 10-11.30am, the High School MICE Quiz Show saw 50 students demonstrate their MICE industry knowledge, with one winner taking the ‘golden bell’. Meanwhile, the MICE Career Talk Show, held at The Plaza from 10.00am-12.00pm, offered college students an opportunity to learn employment advice from experts currently engaged in Seoul’s convention sector.

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A range of MICE-related workshops and exhibits were also held at The Plaza throughout the day.

"I'm very impressed with the sustainability practices in the city" said Samantha Allen during the Seoul International MICE Forum, adding "I will be taking what I learned here back to London and Glasgow."

"You are going to grow very fast," enthused fellow panelist Laurent Chiron. "Your quality of service is one of the best in the world" he said.

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"Your quality of service is one of the best in the world." - Laurent Chiron, Commercial Director, Viparis

To learn more about Seoul MICE Week 2015, please visit the official website.
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