The UIA’s newly released Statistics Report lists Seoul as having hosted a total of 253 qualified meetings in 2012, a 10% increase from the 232 it hosted in 2011.
When it was established in 2008, the Seoul Convention Bureau, the business events marketing division of the Seoul Tourism Organization, set the ambitious target of hitting the top 5 by 2015. Seoul hit the mark five years early in 2010, when it was first ranked fifth in the world for the hosting of international conferences by the UIA.
"Seoul has a very competitive and hard-working meetings industry, and we look forward to producing even greater results in the future. Although there is still much work to be done, these latest UIA findings are concrete evidence that our efforts are paying off," said Kim Kihyun, Director of the Seoul Metropolitan Government's Tourism Business Division.
“They also reflect an unwavering confidence in Seoul by the international community in its ability to deliver strong and attractive support packages for Seoul-based events. Naturally, the city plans to keep on doing just that,” added Kim, whose department provides funding for the Seoul Convention Bureau.
New meeting venues and hotels in the city are set to significantly boost Seoul’s meetings capacity and enable the city maintain its lead in rankings. In particular, Seoul’s popular tourism and shopping area, Dongdaemun, is undergoing a rebirth. Next year it is set to gain a new unique meeting venue for the city in the form of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) - which was designed by Zaha Hadid. The JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square hotel is scheduled to open nearby the DDP early next year, and in 2016 a Hyatt Place in Seoul is also scheduled to open in the Dongdaemun area.
This year two of the major events Seoul hosted were the 13th International Congress of Toxicology in May (3,000 attendees) and the 20th IFOS World Congress earlier in June (6,000 attendees).
The news comes just ahead of the 2013 Korea MICE Expo, the nation’s largest meetings industry trade show, with 200 business events companies and 350 domestic and international buyers expected to attend. The expo will take place from June 26-27 at the Coex convention and exhibition center.