What We Need to Keep Going in the Era of Uncertainty?

By Seoul Tourism Organization

Digital Transformation is the fundamental.

Sometime after the pandemic was declared, the Virtual Seoul platform was created to represent the actual city Seoul in the virtual space. It was designed with several attractions including the ones that are well-known to global MICE industry as well as the new venues. The Changdeokgung Palace would never be a venue in real life as it is a site on the UNESCO Heritage, however because it was virtual space, it stands in the center of the Virtual Seoul showing its historical value to the visitors. The same goes for the Seoul Botanic Garden, as only small group can be holding a business event in the actual venue. It usually serves as a networking lounge in the virtual with its welcoming atmosphere.

The UIA Associations Asia-Pacific Roundtable 2020 was the first event hosted on the Virtual Seoul platform. The main challenge was to provide networking space and opportunities throughout the event as it was a roundtable. Fortunately, most participants were impressed with the innovative platform and utilized lounge space and promotional booth to actively engage in meet-ups virtually. The next one had twice more participants and many PSA meetings as it was the Seoul International Travel Mart for Medical Tourism. Live sessions and e-conferences are the most common functions executed on the platform throughout six different events.

The recent event on the platform was the Virtual MICE Show where virtual FAM tours, showcases for the PLUS SEOUL supports and the Seoul MICE alliance members and PSA meetings between international buyers and local sellers. Another event being hosted on the event is a congress bringing participants from all over the world. 66th IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Student’s Foundation) World Congress will gather about 700 participants including 450 from outside Seoul. Though the congress overlaps the starting date with the last day of the previous event, it’s not a matter in a digital world.

In addition, other digital assets that Seoul Convention Bureau created were utilized in collaboration with the events held on the platform. The Virtual Seoul Playground, the virtual teambuilding games, was a great source for audience engaging event in which participants played the games on it and posted the screen captures for prizes. 360 VR videos of various venues such as hotels, convention centers, and unique venues help participants see the places in Seoul as if they were actually visiting them in their own place.

Seoul’s digitalization transformed how to host events in Seoul. It presented a new opportunity and keeps proving itself with different MICE events hosted on it. Enrichment in the program was supported with additional resources produced to amplify the attractiveness of the city in the virtual space. The Seoul Convention Bureau is in the process of adding more venues with new functions yet again. What kind of business events will be on Seoul next time?

Alliance is the key to opening more doors.

Seoul is intensifying alliances in and out in seeking to stand stronger in the coming era. On the base of experience and knowledge accumulated in the past decade with a local alliance named Seoul MICE Alliance (SMA), alliances extend to the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Seoul Convention Bureau recently established yet another noteworthy alliance on top of being the first Asian destination to join the Hybrid City Alliance. Under the title of Asia Convention Alliance, Seoul is going to work closed with Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau to bolster global conventions in both destinations.

With this multi-layered alliance establishment, Seoul now has a local level alliance, SMA which consists of about 300 key players of private sector in Seoul MICE industry who are professionals in organizing and hosting business meetings and events. Then there are member of PLUS CITIES which are second-tier destinations in Korea such as Gangwon where PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games was successfully hosted. Any group entering Seoul can look into eligibility to apply for the PLUS CITIES supports.

A New Tourism Hub to connect the world

The Seoul Tourism Plaza recently had a grand opening at the heart of the nation’s capital. Its primary role as a new hub in the tourism sector will be fulfilled through bringing essential organizations and businesses to one location. Local and international tourists are more than welcomed to visit for charming souvenirs, useful information and even professional education in tourism.

This one-stop plaza plans to support four focus communication, governance, incubating and innovation in establishing a robust ecosystem for the local tourism industry. In taking this into account, relevant associations and various companies from the private sector placed their names on the plaza’s tenant list. The Seoul Tourism Organization, affiliating with the city government, also occupied to cooperate in shaping the governance of the industry together. The two floors yielded for startups incubation became home for few of the Seoul MICE Alliance members—Event-Us, BiddingStay and Modern.han.

The broadcasting studios are a must resource to spread out words and news about Seoul. So is the medical tourism promotional center for anyone visiting Seoul for the relevant reason. The Seoul Tourism and MICE Supporting Center also situated in the plaza to offer professional consulting and counselling services for the industry exclusively.

Now the much attention is drawn on to the city, numerous stakeholders longed to build strong cooperation and collaboration which will become a key for Seoul tourism to play an essential role in revitalizing the economy. Seoul has right resources and infrastructure, professionals and alliances to work together and a hub to serve a meeting point to gather all necessities together and even develop and advance further. Seoul is a ready to be a hybrid destination.

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