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Korea is Now the Best MICE Destination in the World

Korea, a place of harmony where modern architecture and traditional hanok coexist ⓒ Hwang Seon-young, Korea Tourism Organization
Korea, a place of harmony where modern architecture and traditional hanok coexist ⓒ Hwang Seon-young, Korea Tourism Organization

What comes to mind when thinking about planning a conference, a meeting, or a convention? Would it be Korea?

Korea exists harmoniously with both traditional and modern times, continuing to develop in creative and dynamic ways.

  • Food
  • K-Pop
  • TV Dramas

is what comes to mind for many fans of Korea around the world.

The Korea MICE Bureau wants meeting planners to go beyond just imagining about this perfect events destination. The Bureau has put together a perfect 3-day sample meeting plan.

According to a Union of International Associations (UIA) analysis in 2020, Korea ranked fourth in the number of international conferences hosted. It ranked 2nd as the most popular meeting destination in Asia.

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What convenience and charms does Korea offer as a MICE destination that attracts MICE visitors from all over the world?

Korea is a place of harmony where modern architecture and traditional hanok coexist © Hwang Seon-young, Korea Tourism Organization.

Begin imagining your virtual MICE Tour to Korea:

Before leaving home

A convenient and smooth entry process to Korea starts even before you leave home:

Imagine you are traveling to Korea tomorrow and speaking at an international conference. Prior to your visit, you have already received the itinerary for your time in Korea. You know your transportation information, how to reach the event venue from the airport, and your lodging information has all been provided by the Korea PCO Association.

This convenient process takes the burden off of you as a participant. You can travel without worrying about making the details of your trip work.

Personal quarantine information such as vaccination status can be entered at cov19ent.kdca.go.kr prior to entering the Republic of Korea. This will further speed up the entry process.

Your Perfect First Day in Korea:

Daejon Tourism
Daejon Convention Center: Daejon Tourism Organization

Do Business in comfort

On your first day in Korea, you arrive at Daejeon to speak at an international conference. Daejeon is located about an hour away from the capital city of Seoul.

As its nickname “Science MICE City” suggests, the city has successfully hosted various international events related to science. This included the OECD Ministerial Meeting Daejeon 2015 and the World Science & Technology Forum.

Your conference is held at the Daejeon Convention Center, where a “COVID-19 Free Zone” is set up to prevent the spread of the disease and to ensure the safety of the participants. In addition, the interior and the surrounding environment have been recreated in the metaverse for visitors to participate in realistic online experience programs and even communicate in real-time.

The Daejeon Convention Center, COEX in Seoul, KINTEX in Gyeonggi-do, and the Kimdaejung Convention Center in Gwangju have customized cutting-edge virtual convention infrastructure. They showcase characteristics of the local host city to allow for the dynamic and successful hosting of virtual and hybrid MICE events.

The number of participants who can enter the space is limited within a given amount of time. Participant information is managed using a QR code, in line with Korea’s COVID-19 prevention measures.

After delivering your conference speech, you may want to return to your business hotel to take a rest. Business travelers in Korea can choose the accommodation that best suits their preferences and needs.

Those looking for convenient transportation to tour the city can stay in a perfect hotel downtown offering great accessibility, while those who want a unique lodging experience can opt for the hanok guesthouse to experience Korea’s traditional housing culture.

Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, Jeonju Hanok Village, and Gongju Hanok Village are Korea’s top hanok villages.

Your Perfect Second Day in Korea:

Balwoo Gongyang and Tea Ceremony: Jean Hyeong-jun, Korea Tourism Organization

Team building programs for every taste

On the second day, you take part in a special team-building program prepared by the host.

First up is an active program providing a taste of the Korean martial arts Taekwondo, along with archery. Both are popular sports in which Korea has been winning Olympic gold medals for years. These are perfect for any sport enthusiast looking for a short, one- to two-hour program. The programs can be experienced in the middle of the city and indoors, making them highly accessible.

Next is a temple stay, where you can recuperate in the midst of your busy schedule. You can experience Korea’s Buddhist culture – a mainstay since ancient times.

Balwoo Gongyang and Tea Ceremony: Jean Hyeong-jun, Korea Tourism Organization

A longer program spans two days, while a short programs lasts two to three hours. This is a popular team-building program for international visitors, as you can experience temple culture including balwoo gongyang.

Balwoo refers to the bowl of rice of Buddhist monks, and gongyang, which means meal, refers to the ceremony where Buddha is respected and offerings are made. Thus, balwoo gongyang formalizes the gratitude for a meal and is a courtesy to be followed when Buddhist monks eat at the temple.

Experience a Buddhist service and tea ceremony, in addition to finding inner peace through meditation. A Buddhist service refers to praying to Buddha in the temple with a respectful mind.

Your second day to Korea comes to an end after an exciting day filled with various team-building programs.

Your Perfect Third Day in Korea:

DMZ
DMZ Park Seong-Woo Korea Tourism Organization

Korea: Experience history, nature, and ICT – all at once

You are free to explore Korea on your own, but here are some ideas. Tour all the places you wanted to visit.

A must-visit for many visitors is the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The DMZ is a stark reminder that Korea remains the only divided country in the world. It makes Korea a top destination in the category of “dark tourism.”

You can examine the traces that are still also a reality of the Korean War. View North Korea from the Unification Observatory. The DMZ is also famous for its “untouched” natural environment providing a walking trail with the theme “DMZ Peace Road.” It allows you to walk along beautiful beaches and wetlands.

Your next stop may be the “Age of Light (Gwanghwa Sidae),” as an authentic content experience program. Here stands the “Gwanghwa Tree (Gwanghwa Su),” a tree pillar sculpture with big data viewed through Augmented Reality (AR), and the “Gwanghwa Tramcar (Gwanghwa Jeonchai),” a 4D transportation experience.

Al Minho: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea

A K-pop star provides information at the AI Information Center powered by machine learning technology.

Play the AR game “Gwanghwamun Dam” to experience an adventure through the Gwanghwamun area and complete the missions.

You will be surprised by Korea’s advanced Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure as you enjoy historical content provided through AR. Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that lets you superimpose digital content (images, sounds, text) over a real-world environment.

Your perfect 3-day journey in Korea is now complete.

From excellent events and team-building programs to personal tours.

The virtual Korean MICE tour has come to an end.

AR Gwanghwa Tree – Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea

Korea successfully hosted international events in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly making the transition to hybrid events which integrate online elements.

Local Professional Conference Organizers (PCO) with expertise in meetings, incentives, conference, and exhibitions (MICE) programs serve a major role in executing these tasks.

With much experience conducting large-scale international events, Korean PCOs provide solutions aligned to the ever-changing MICE trends.

The Korea MICE Bureau provides assistance in the selection of the PCO and venue, as well as program scheduling for hosting a comfortable and unique MICE event.

KMB can also organize site inspection tours for key decision-makers and supports various marketing activities.

Financial support may be available depending on event size and scope, including lodging and souvenirs.

The world is gradually easing pandemic regulations one by one so we can meet each other again in person. In the meantime, visit Korea virtually to catch up on missed opportunities and plan ahead for future trips to Korea.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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