Busan, the hub city of Northeast Asia, prepares for the “with Corona” era. Two years after Corona 19, Busan has established non-face-to-face MICE facilities at various venues, including BEXCO, to strengthen quarantine.
They put a lot of effort to stabilize the meeting technology so that the event can be held without any constraints even in unexpected or adverse conditions such as COVID-19. Haeundae Centum area is designated as an international conference complex by the government, and the ‘Convention Ten Minute Zone’, where you can experience all MICE facilities within 10 minutes, has been almost completed. Busan is beholden to have comparative advantage in the global MICE market, which has stalled due to the pandemic.
Inspired by Freddie Mercury of the legendary group Queen, the Busan Tourism Organization (BTO) adapted his last famous song ‘The Show Must Go On’, which contains the last passion and effort in Freddie Mercury’s life to continue the Busan MICE in the era of “With Corona,” and put forward with the common message of “Busan MICE Must Go On.”
For a sustainable MICE in Busan, “reliability” is required. BTO intends to spread the message of “BUSAN is SURE,” meaning that Busan is reliable as the safe and secure MICE venue even in the pandemic. With the keyword “Sure” to imprint the image of a ‘certain MICE city’ in the global market, Busan’s excellent MICE infrastructure and features of the marine leisure tourism industry are included in three areas: △BleiSURE (Business+Leisure, international conference) △PleaSURE (pleasant and enjoyable, incentive) and △TreaSURE (treasure-like MICE infrastructure).
‘BUSAN is SURE’ of Successful Meeting
Busan’s MICE competitiveness in the global market has been already proven for many years. Busan has successfully held large-scale international conferences such as the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit and the World Diabetes Federation General Assembly. Through these efforts, Busan ranked 13th in the world and 5th in Asia in the International Conference MICE Host City announced by the Union of International Associations (UIA) in 2020. In 2018, it was selected as Asia’s Best Travel Destinations by Lonely Planet. In 2017, Busan was selected as one of the New York Times’ 52 Must-Visit World Attractions and as the world’s 10th most preferred travel destination by Airbnb.
In addition, it was selected as the only International Tourism City in Korea by the government and recognized as a key city for the national tourism strategy that will lead the future of Korean tourism. The International Tourism City project intends to attract foreign tourists to local areas; and foster and support a tourism base city beyond the domestic market. Busan plans to invest a total of 150 billion won (50 billion won from the central government, 100 billion won from the city government) 57 projects in 3 areas over five years.
The area from the Centum City business district to the Haeundae Beach of 2.39 million square meters (Centum City-Bexco-Nurimaru APEC House-Haeundae Beach) was designated as an International Conference Complex to serve as a world-class BleiSURE MICE city. The Convention Ten Minute Zone, where MICE infrastructure such as convention center, banquet hall, accommodation, shopping, and tourism are clustered and where you can get to Busan’s tourist attractions within 10 minutes, was adopted as a development strategy. The goal is to create a foundation for business and leisure in a 10 minute radius, giving confidence in hosting a successful MICE event.
‘BUSAN is SURE’ of Safety & With Corona
As an International Safe City designated by the International Safe Cities Certification Center (ISCCC) for two consecutive years, Busan is ready to grow into a world-class Safe MICE City. Internationally Safe City certifies a city that has a systematic foundation for safety and continuously strives for safety. Busan is the first metropolitan city in Korea to receive certification for 2 consecutive years.
BTO provides support fund for hosting international conferences as a part of preparing a long-term growth engine for the MICE industry and revitalizing the local economy. In 2021, it started supporting both online and offline meetings for MICE organizers in Busan. In case of more than 10% of the total participants join in on-site (offline), the total size of the event is 100% recognized and supported.
In addition, BTO provides additional support for technology usage fees for a Hybrid MICE event to reduce the burden on the organizers. It covers various conference technology such as online video conferencing platform, online participation registration platform, online conference equipment, and event management software. In offline events, BTO supports rental and consumable expenses (facial mask, hand sanitizer, thermal imaging camera, etc.) to hold a safe MICE event.
Equipped with a MICE video conference room (10 rooms), studio video shooting, and video conference transmission system, as well as various digital marketing support, Busan’s representative exhibition and convention center BEXCO can be used for global video conferencing not only by the MICE industry but also by local companies. It provides state-of-the-art facilities to respond to the rapidly increasing demand for non-face-to-face MICE (online/hybrid) technology due to COVID-19. The Busan MICE Information Center, located in the BEXCO Auditorium, provides one-stop comprehensive information and convenience services as well as a MICE tour information space, a rest area, and a business meeting space with professional guides who can speak foreign languages.
As such, Busan turns the crisis of COVID-19 into an opportunity to make the brand “Busan is Sure” so that the city can settle in the global market as a MICE destination. BTO provides pleasure (PleaSURE) through the charm and various incentive tourism of Busan, the marine bleiSURE city, and discovers and introduces the treasure-like MICE infrastructure (TreaSURE). Busan MICE must go on.
Photo credit: BTO Convention Bureau