With massive ultra modern infrastructure in place and efficient support systems, South Korea is ready to be the top MICE destination, writes Teresa Yong-Leong
SOUTH Korea is going all out to promote itself as the world’s top MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) destination in a concerted and impressive way.
This year is designated Visit Korea Year 2012 and the country is sparing no effort to become the No. 1 MICE destination in the world.
Listed below are some of Korea’s MICE facilities:
INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION CENTER
A tour of the country’s largest convention centre, the Korea International Exhibition Center (Kintex) is enough to take your breath away. The seven-year-old venue is positioned to hold world-class MICE events.
With an impressive 23 million visitors as at the end of last year, this specialised industrial exhibition centre holds 41 per cent of Korea’s total 260,000 sq m of exhibition area.
With the rapid growth of South Korea’s economy including the heavy and IT sectors, trade infrastructure was needed to attract larger-scale industrial expos. This led to the construction of a second exhibition hall, costing KRW359.1 billion (RM1 billion), last year. The hall has cutting-edge facilities such as eco-friendly, renewable energy, including geothermal and photovoltaic systems that reduces annual energy cost by KRW1 billion.
It has also been successful in reducing the country’s annual green house gas by some 4,000 tonnes and has an automatic cooling and heating system triggered by the size of the audience and overall body temperature.
Its column-free multi-purpose hall is suitable for exhibitions, banquets, large-scale concerts, international conferences.
Another impressive structure is the Songdo Convensia in Incheon, 20 minutes from the Incheon International Airport. Completed in 2008, it’s a top class convention centre. It is being expanded under a second stage programme that will be finished in 2014.
This is also the first Asian green convention centre certified by Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the green building rating system developed and administered by the US Green Building Council,). This certification promotes design and construction practices that raise profitability but reduces the adverse environmental impact of buildings and improves the health of occupants.
Songdo Convensia has, to date, organised about 400 events and has focused on being a venue for Korean dramas such as Boys Over Flowers and advertisements because of its unique shape which resembles the Taebaek Mountains in Korea.
CHANGWON EXHIBITION CONVENTION CENTRE
The Changwon Exhibition Convention Centre (Ceco) boasts of its own unique attractions. Its specialty is providing a support team to help, from planning to execution of events as well as field support. Changwon, a major city in Gyeongsangnam-do, positions itself as a balance between man and nature living in harmony in the high-tech industrial and environment. It offers rich and varied opportunities in the area.
The city is also home to many heavy industries such as shipbuilding, railways and car manufacturing. The presence of welding-related industries has made it the region with the highest demand for welding and cutting technology in Asia.
Ceco is gearing up to host the largest Korean exhibition, Welding Korea 2012, from Nov 21-24. This is the only domestic expo to receive financial support from the central government as it has been recognised by the country’s Knowledge Economy Ministry as a promising international exhibition.
CHANGWON GENERAL SHOOTING RANGE
This is the only shooting range that conforms to the International Shooting Sport Federation standard (ISSF). The SIUS ASCOR EST (Electronic Scoring Target) systems are fully installed in the 10m, 25m and 50m shooting ranges.
It has hosted five ISSF World Cups since 2003 and the 14th Asian Games 2002 and is now preparing to hold the 52nd ISSF World Shooting Championships.
BUSAN EXHIBITION & CONVENTION CENTRE
Busan is of course the biggest port in South Korea and boasts of splendid natural maritime heritage and many attractions, chief of which is Busan Exhibition & Convention Centre (Bexco).
This impressive structure has an exhibition area that is made up of five halls that can be used individually or opened to provide a massive space of 26,500 sq m. Busan’s marine and industrial credentials have made it aptly positioned as the venue for holding motor and marine events. In the even years, international and national motor shows are held while odd years will feature a marine week where yacht conferences and tours are held during the first week of June.
Bexco is currently adding a new 4,000-seat state-of-the-art auditorium and a second exhibition facility with 11 additional mid-size multi-functional exhibition halls and 12 conference rooms.
This will add up to over 60,000 sq m of convention space covering more than 160,000 sq m by June 2012.
NURIMARU APEC HOUSE
Busan has yet another notable landmark, the Nurimaru Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) House which got its name by combining two Korean words — nuri (world) and maru (summit) to mean “a house where the world summits gather for an Apec meeting”.
It is located on Dongbaekseom Island, noted for its natural landscape accentuated by dense camellia and pine trees. The Apec House is a memorial hall and its international conference hall was used for the Apec Summit in 2005.
The three-storey structure is a modernistic expression of jeongja, a traditional Korean pavilion. Its roof shape symbolises the ridgeline of the Dongbaekseom Island while its interior design showcases Korea’s creative traditional culture.
SHINSEGAE CENTUM CITY
Busan also houses the world’s largest shopping and entertainment complex, the Shinsegae Centum City. A floor area of 509,810 sq m devoted to shopping has earned it the reputation of being the world’s largest department store.
Yes, this shopping paradise has to be seen to appreciate what it means to be “magically lost” as you explore the myriad shopping levels.
However, for tourists with limited shopping time, it would be helpful if there was a floor devoted to Korean products.
This amazing multi-faceted mixed-use complex also houses a golf course, movie theatres, spas, grocery stores, ice skating rinks and driving ranges.
BUSAN CINEMA CENTRE
This is the home of the Busan International Film Festival. It has cinemas, restaurants, 1,000-seat multifunctional theatre and numerous public spaces for artistic expression and creation. The open space at the entrance is captivating with its numerous sculptures and statutes.
A signature element of the design is the world’s longest cantilever stretching 85m over the streetscape with a roof surface of 60m by 60m. This gravity-defying space frame cantilever is anchored to the ground via a large cone-shaped column housing the main entrance and cafe.
The underside of the roof is covered with a LED lighting surface, and functions as a dynamic light show tailored to events of the film festival and will serve as a canvas for visual artists when fully operational.