The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) participated in ITB Asia 2018, which was held from October 17 to 19 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Singapore.
At the Seoul MICE consultation table, 52 business consultations with buyers were completed, and 12 new MICE events were discovered (1 corporate meeting, 11 incentive tours), accounting for a total of 1,690 expected tourists. Throughout the exhibition period, there was a continuous flow of MICE planners and buyers wanting consultations, which confirmed the solid foothold that Seoul has established as a global MICE city.
With more than 11,000 delegates from 113 countries in attendance, ITB Asia is Asia's largest MICE tourism expo. For this year's exhibition, Seoul operated an independent booth that was 63㎡ in size and was joined by eight member companies from the Seoul MICE Alliance (SMA), a public-private partnership between the city of Seoul and MICE industry businesses, who helped to carry out strategic joint marketing activities.
STO representatives at the Seoul consultation table explained Seoul's MICE support programs, and each member company conducted marketing activities to attract substantial events. This included conducting 1:1 business consultations with multinational corporations, travel agencies, and PCOs.
Seoul MICE promotional materials and souvenirs were handed out, and buyers and booth visitors were treated to various refreshments and events in order to promote the PLUS SEOUL Package brand. In particular, the Seoul promotional center received a great response from visitors for hosting a traditional knot-tying experience program and a chimaek (Korean fried chicken and beer) tasting event, which has recently become popular among foreign tourists. While the chicken and beer were being offered, the I · SEOUL · U brand was promoted to raise awareness of Seoul.
On the 18th, a Seoul MICE briefing session was held in connection with the exhibition for 80 buyers at ITB Asia who were representing major associations and companies. Targeted buyers were selected and invited in order to attract new MICE events to Seoul. The buyers received promotional materials such as brochures for Seoul's 2018 MICE support programs and a USB. They also viewed promotional videos and took part in a luncheon and a giveaway.
SMG and STO also attended IMEX America 2018 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas from October 16 to 18.
The participating parties conducted various business consultations with North American buyers, which included consultations for international conferences, corporate meetings, incentive tours, and exhibitions. There was a great effort made to attract new MICE tourism to Seoul. A total of 28 MICE business consultations were carried out, which resulted in the discovery of 15 new MICE events (6 international conferences, 5 corporate meetings, 4 incentive tours) expected to bring in 11,780 tourists.
With approximately 60,000 consultations conducted during the exhibition period, IMEX America is one of the largest MICE exhibitions in North America. The number of global buyers, exhibitors, business visitors, and media who attend the exhibition increases every year. In addition to quantitative growth, IMEX America has also been promoting qualitative growth by putting together a global program for MICE organizers and an industry awards ceremony.
STO participated in the exhibition in cooperation with the Korea Tourism Organization and 18 other organizations. The organizations in attendance actively sought out new MICE demand by taking part in various activities such as conducting pre-booked consultations with buyers, distributing Seoul MICE promotional materials and souvenirs, providing bidding support for MICE events, engaging in team-building exercises, promoting specialized tourism programs, introducing Seoul MICE infrastructure and presenting customized proposals for unique venues, and holding cultural experience programs for booth visitors.
In addition, Seoul ran advertisements in local MICE media outlets in connection with the IMEX America exhibition. New SMA member companies were introduced through Smart Meetings - one of the most influential media outlets in the Americas – and Northstar Meetings Group’s IMEX America Special Show Report. The advantages of Seoul as a MICE destination were also promoted through the promotion of the PLUS SEOUL Package, Seoul’s main MICE support service.
STO plans to continue to cooperate with SMA members to support the process of bringing over newly discovered MICE events to Seoul.