MICE Seoul



A 2030 Vision for Urban Tourism:
7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism

Experts to discuss the competitiveness of future urban tourism and fair tourism
UNWTO Global Summit to be held in conjunction with Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum 2018


The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will be co-hosting the UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism at The Shilla Seoul from September 16 to 19. The UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism is an international conference where tourism destination cities share their visions and discuss joint strategies. Seoul is the first city in Northeast Asia to hold the summit.

For this year's summit, approximately 500 tourism industry professionals and experts from 50 countries are expected to be in attendance. Heads of tourism administrations and organizations from Malaysia, Spain, Thailand, Mongolia, and Zambia will be attending along with delegates from Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Nice, Macau, Cape Town, Kampala, and Yangon. Representatives from international tourism organizations such as UNWTO, PATA, and WTTC will be also be gathering at the summit.

The summit will be composed of an opening ceremony, high-level panel, four sessions, closing ceremony, Seoul tours, and the UNWTO Global Youth Summit on Urban Tourism. The opening ceremony will take place on the 17th and will be followed by a keynote address from B. Joseph Pine II, who is well known for first using the term “experience economy.” Mayors of major tourism destinations, heads of tourism administrations and organizations, and officials of related ministries and agencies will gather around the high-level panel to share their experiences and visions on urban tourism.

Session 1 will be looking in-depth at the future of urban tourism. Tourism policymakers from Macau, San Sebastian, and Singapore, and directors of global tourism companies like TripAdvisor will be in attendance to share their views on the global trends of urban tourism and future competitive urban destinations.

The theme for Session 2 is “The 4th Industrial Revolution Shaping the Future of Urban Tourism.” Professor and e-tourism specialist, Dimitrios Buhalis, and tourism-related companies such as Mastercard, Amadeus, and My Real Trip will be discussing the technological changes that have been brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution. They will also be presenting successful cases of smart tourism destinations.

Seoul's outstanding examples of urban regeneration will be shared in Session 3. The city of Seoul received the Lee Kuan Yew World Prize Award for its accomplishments in urban regeneration which were built on citizen engagement. In addition to Seoul, the strategies that have been carried out by cities such as Osaka, Madrid, and Linz to reinvigorate tourism through urban regeneration will also be discussed.

This year's summit will be held in conjunction with the “Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum 2018,” which is in its third year. Under the theme of “Fair and Inclusive Tourism,” the Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum will be taking a look at the phenomenon of overtourism, which has become an issue in recent years. In addition, the forum will be presenting cases that show the successful coexistence between tourists and local communities.

The technical tours that will be held during this year's summit have also been garnering attention. SMG will be operating six tour programs around Seoul, which include the Traditional Seoul Tour, Spouse Tour, Session-related Tour, Night Tour, VIP Seoul Tour, and the JSA · DMZ Tour. Participants who want to join the tour programs can choose their preferred programs beforehand via the official website. The UNWTO Global Youth Summit on Urban Tourism - which will provide an opportunity for the next generation's tourism experts to engage in discussions - is also currently in the midst of preparations.

SMG strategically seized upon the opportunity to hold the UNWTO Summit, which brings together tourism industry professionals and experts, in order to promote Seoul as a global tourism destination. According to SMG, it will “focus on promoting Seoul's excellent tourism and MICE infrastructure and informing others about [its] vision for the future of tourism in Seoul.” Anyone with an interest in tourism can preregister for the summit via the official website. There is no separate registration fee.

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