The Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) recently announced comprehensive measures to enable the recovery of the MICE industry amid one of the most profound crises in modern history. Strategic long-term plans were introduced to transform the industry into a hybrid model, a global standard to-be in the post-COVID era. Such efforts are made to better ensure the safety of both the ‘face-to-face’ and ‘screen-to-screen’ business interactions and provide the most quality environment for a supreme hybrid event. The cutting-edge meeting technology based on powerful ICT of the city remains a key player, along with the existing quarantine countermeasures for on-site events.
The essential supports introduced in response to the pandemic became the permanent gears in 2021. The Reassuring Package is to construct an effective safeguard for MICE participants when business resumes within the year. It provides the necessary services to aid in safety during a stay like emergency medical insurance, language services, general concierge services for hotel and transportation reservations. On the other hand, organising an online and hybrid event is eligible for financial supports and more. When utilising the Virtual Seoul platform, not only are the 3D graphics offered at no charge, but as much as KRW 10 million is given as a stipend for operating expenses. As more attention is focused towards sustaining the local MICE industry, attracting international conferences has become more important than ever. Application requirements have eased to widen the opportunities for event planners to receive the appropriate supports when hosting an international conference. These customised supports at the bidding phase include thorough consultation, official supporting letters, presentation tips and a maximum of KRW 200 million during the hosting phase.
Exhibitions and fairs will speed up utilising hybrid and zero-contact means under a strategic growth plan in aiming to develop an international exhibition comparable to CES. A total of 34 exhibition organisers are selected for each stage and provided the support of up to KRW 80 million. Consulting services in international marketing and IT technology help advance the necessary skills to respond to an increasing need for hybrid approaches. An online platform is undergoing development in cooperation with the Korea Exhibition Organizers Association, helping relieve some of the burden that comes with developing an online platform. Looking ahead, the Seoul Convention Bureau is confident in gaining an increased level of global competitiveness within the local exhibition sector upon plan completion. A hybrid synergy of operative quarantine countermeasures and a multi-faceted plan of bolstering the capacity as MICE professional is anticipated to both revitalise and further the sustainability of Seoul’s MICE industry.