25 Oct Seoul Wins Bid to Host the UAA in 2020 Through its Bidding Support Clinic
The Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) of the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) provides the Bidding Support Clinic program to help event organizers in Korea attract and host international MICE events. Continuing from the previous issue (Interview with Professor Lee Tae-rim/Seoul’s Bidding Support Clinic Helps City Clinch the Bid to Host the IBC), Lee Seung-ae from the Korean Urological Association (KUA) shares the story behind Seoul’s successful bid, in July, to host the Urological Association of Asia (UAA) Congress in 2020.
First of all, we would like to congratulate you on behalf of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the STO on winning the bid in July to host the UAA Congress 2020. Please give us a brief introduction about the event.
The UAA was founded in Fukuoka, Japan in August 1990 to promote the field of urology in Asia. We exchange ideas and research on urological treatments together among members. The congress used to be held every two years but has been held annually since 2014. It is becoming an international congress where some of the top urologists from all over the world, beyond just Asia, gather and share knowledge.
Why did you decide to bid for the UAA Congress 2020 with Seoul?
Apart from being the capital of Korea, Seoul is Korea’s most international city. The city’s easy access to and from airports, numerous venues to hold large-scale conferences, wide accommodation options, and tourist attractions representing the long history of Korea were important reasons to choose Seoul. Moreover, Seoul is where you can easily experience hallyu, the Korean Wave that is sweeping Asia.
Tell us about your bidding activities performed in July in Singapore.
In 2015, at the UAA 2015 held in China, we came up just three votes short to host the UAA Congress. We analyzed the reasons behind our failed bid to better prepare for the bid for the UAA Congress in 2016. I asked the advice of not only the association members but also professors that I personally knew and we tried our best to win over voters. In fact, the bid committee left for Singapore before the congress in July to promote Seoul by having preliminary meetings with the congress attendees. On top of that, we identified which association members had voting right and directly appealed for their support of Korea during the congress.
Korea was up against four other countries to host the UAA Congress 2020- the U.A.E., Taiwan, Turkey, and India though Turkey later withdrew its bid due to political upheavals in the country. Out of the remaining candidate countries, we were the third to present and were led by the president of the KUA, Ju Myeong-su, in a professional and calm manner. His humorous emphasis on Seoul’s never-ending and exciting nightlife for young urologists drew laughter from the crowd and there was such a good vibe until the end of the presentation.How did the KUA prepare for the bidding besides the bidding proposal and presentations?
Throughout the many international conferences held over the last few years, the KUA executive member attendees of these events made sure to always emphasize and seek support for Korea’s bid from other participants. The general UAA Congress 2018 is slated to be held in Seoul and at the LOC meeting for the general congress we made it a point to meet with the various leaders prior to the voting date for the 2020 event. We were cautious, of course, because we did not want the attendees think that we were doing “pre-campaigning” activities to bid for the UAA Congress 2020. At the meeting, we just gave them a brief introduction about how we are going to host the UAA Congress in 2018. Although it was indirect, we believe that it was more than enough to show our strong will to host the congress in 2020.
What support did you receive from the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the STO and how did they help your bidding activities?
The KUA is extremely appreciative of the support from the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the STO for helping us win the bid for hosting the UAA Congress 2020. Our budgets were tight to prepare for the bidding of such an international conference as we are a non-profit organization. However, the STO provided us with not only subsidies but also a variety of media contents such as photos and videos that were perfect for our presentation. We had many meetings with the officials from the STO who advised us on the direction and delivery of the presentation. In short, I think we wouldn’t have been able to properly prepare for the bid without the governmental support and subsidy.
Is there any improvements you’d like to suggest in the MICE Bidding & Promotional Support Programs?
Nothing particular I can think of because we really took advantage of the media materials including photos and videos provided by the STO when making the presentation files. However, the content of the five-minute promotional video that explains about airport access, accommodation, venues, and tourist attractions overlaps at times with the contents of the presentation files. It would be nice if there is a shorter version of that video.
Another thing that could be helpful is an ease in restrictions and rules on how and where the subsidy can be spent. Although the rules helped us to spend the given subsidy efficiently, it would be great if the meals and local transportation expenses are also covered apart from flights and accommodation.
I would like to thank the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the STO again for their support and help. We will exert ourselves to promote and successfully host the UAA Congress 2020.