“Since major governmental research institutes’ technology exhibitions halls, high-tech science museum, National Central Science Museum, Geological Museum and Currency Museum are clustered there, Daejeon is most fit for science-related conferences and exhibitions, “Yang Seong-chan Director General of Headquarters for the Promotion of S&T Specializations at City of Daejeon.”
Q: What impact would MICE bring about on your efforts of strengthening the city brand?
A: As you may know well, MICE stands Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions, and it can be seen as an activity to sell and promote a city’s various assets during the course of bidding for and hosting of various events.
Above all, bidding process for hosing various MICE already incorporates suggestion and promotion of Daejeon’s various assets as products in order to attract events to the city by distinguishing its competitiveness from other cities.
As the MICE industry gains competitiveness, hosting of various MICE events with significant advertisement effect will naturally lead to the promotion and brand improvement of the city. In the case of Daejeon, the city is already widely known in Europe for its hosting of the EXPO back in 1993, and many people in Korea associate high-tech aerospace industry with Daejeon since the city successfully hosted the 2009 International Astronauti-cal Congress.
Q: How much contribution is the MICE industry expected to give to your regional economy?
A: Although the amount of an individual visitor’s direct spending in the region varies depending on statistics, the amount is believed to be over US$ 2,000 per person. It means that hosting of 10,000 foreign visitors per year can generate a direct spending effect of 20 billion won. In last year alone, Daejeon enjoyed a direct spending effect equivalent to 6.32 billion won by hosting 500 events which attracted 150,000 domestic and foreign participants.
Besides those economic effects, MICE’ ripple effect can be identified from various aspects. First of all, a city’s infrastructure improves. Various services are created in order to improve the accommodation of participants in boarding, shopping, catering and transportation. Policy development to that end leads to a city’s provision of high quality services, which will also guarantee the citizens of Daejeon a high quality of life.
It also guarantees various industrial developments. For example, hosting of large-scale aero-space related exhibitions in accordance with the International Astronautical Congress created a platform for advancing the region’s industry by allowing trading and exchanges with top-notch overseas institutes and companies such as NASA of the U.S. and JAXA of Japan.
Through hosting WTA High tech fair annually, local businesses achieved consultation outcome amounting to US$260 million in 2010 alone. Also, by hosting the OKTA congress and exhibitions in 2010, a total of 215 billion won worth of export consultation was achieved.
Q: What is your strategy for promoting the MICE industry?
A: Although Daejeon is a latecomer to the MICE field, it adopts a more strategic approach and selective nurturing policy to compensate for that. Whereas other cities constructed a convention center first and then created a convention bureau, a specialized marketing agency, Daejeon prepared for its marketing activities from early on by establishing a convention bureau in December 2005, and opening Daejeon Convention Center (DCC) in April 2008. DCC attained 37.8% operation rate in the first year, and is expected to surpass 55% operation rate by hosting around 550 events in year 2011.
Daejeon is proactively marketing its distinguished features. Daeduk Special Zone, KAIST and Ochang Science Industry Complex are placed nearby. Recently it has been decided that the Science Business Belt will be built in Daejeon.
Daejeon also plans to promote MICE industry by establishing a mid-to-long term development strategy including the MICE alliance with South and North Chungcheong Provinces for the first time in the regional block, which will strengthen the cooperative relationship among industries, academies and research institutes for nurturing regional MICE related industries and human resources.
We will also consolidate the region’s MICE industry fundamentals by systematizing and advancing the educational system of the MICE academy we currently run. Our efforts will be further added by setting-up such mid-to-long term strategies for professional human resource incubation, human resources exchange and expansion of educational MOUs with advanced convention cities overseas and so on.
Q: What efforts is your city making for overseas marketing?
A: We are undergoing a severe competition both domestically and internationally. I believe that gaining an advanced position amid such competition is the role of overseas marketing. In order words, overseas marketing serves as the basis for proactively getting hold of information regarding various MICE that Daejeon could host, as well as for improving the bid success rate through selection and concentration efforts.
In order to proactively get hold of information regarding various MICE events, Daejeon City and its convention bureau have drawn agreement to establish the “Global Science Convention Alliance” with various convention institutes from cities like Toulouse in France, Barcelona in Spain, Hyderabad in India, Sapporo in Japan, and Adelaide of Australia attending. We plan to hold an opening ceremony during the World Convention Industry Congress in October this year, and will host the first meeting in December.
In order to actively utilize global networking, Daejeon has also signed business agreement with MCI Group, an international convention-specializing multi-national operator having 45 offices in 22 countries. MCI Group can be very helpful in terms of our overseas road show, internationalization of convention education, and joint marketing to host international conventions.
Q: Please explain about the competitiveness of your infrastructure for MICE.
A: To tell you the truth, Daejeon’s current MICE infrastructure ranks in the lower strata compared to those of other local cities. However, the recent hosting of DCC connect hotel which is slated to open in early 2014, and the expansion of the convention center next to DCC will make Daejeon equally comparable to other cities.
Especially, whereas majority of convention centers in other cities in Korea are located in the city center, Gapcheon where Daejeon Convention Center is located is a clean complex area where science and culture co-exist, therefore distinguishing itself from other cities. Such science-related facilities like Expo Science Park, High-Tech Science Museum, National Central Science Museum, and Hanbat Arboretum, Daejeon Culture & Arts Center, City Art Gallery, Ungno Lee Museum of Art, Hanbit Tower Plaza, an outdoor concert hall equipped with moving shelter flock around Gapcheon, makes it a world-class convention infrastructure.
In addition to these, KTX will be directly connected from Incheon airport, which will allow integration of Daejeon’s medical tourism along with nearby Baekjae cultural zone's Kumsan Insan Festival. When the Expo Science Park and the HD Drama Town are completed, it will be equipped with world-class infrastructure competitiveness.
Human resource infrastructure building is also important. For this, Daejeon established the Daejeon-Chungcheong MICE Alliance for the first time in the region, and composed a relevant industry, academy, research, government consortium, through which it builds a strong network based on collaborative marketing activities. Also, in order to encourage citizen participation in successfully hosting events, the city runs youth supporters program consisting of nation’s No.1 volunteers, and college students who can speak several languages.
Q: What are your differentiated strengths as a city of MICE?
A: I am sure that Daejeon is the only city where people can conveniently experience Daejeon and Korea’s scientific technologies since major governmental research institutes’ technology exhibition halls, high-tech science museums, National Central Science Museum, Geological Museum and Currency Museum are clustered there. It is therefore an ideal city for hosting science-related conventions and education-oriented events for students.
After successfully hosting the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Daejeon became the chair of its Asia-Pacific regional group and has regularly hosted the group’s congress. Various seminars and exhibitions related to defense industry are annually held in Daejeon or Gyeryongdae and they bring ripple effect to the region, and Daejeon expects to host many int'l conferences of different scale, and especially robot-related events where high-tech scientific solutions are clustered.
We are concentrating our efforts to strongly bid in hosting the “International Scientific Technology Innovation Forum (tentative title),” which is often referred to as the Davos Forum of Science Technology 2013.