“Unlike other cities, Jeju is a resort-style MICE city as Jeju Island has four seasons with different beauty of each season,” said Han Dong-joo, Director General of Culture, Tourism & Sports Bureau in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. BusinessKorea interviewed him to hear about the beautiful island’s merits and advantages for MICE.
Q: What impact does MICE have on Jeju in terms of its city branding initiative?
A: Jeju Island is Korea’s largest island with a population of 560,000. Last year 7.6 million people visited the island, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Korea.
UNESCO designated the island as Biosphere Reserve in 2002, World Natural Heritage in 2007 and World Geoparks in 2010, acknowledging its superb natural scenery.
Jeju has an international convention center and a range of accommodations including five-star hotels. It also has various customer tailored programs for conference experiences.
Under the circumstances, around 350 domestic and international conferences and company incentive tours are held annually, making Jeju one of the most popular MICE cities with competitiveness.
Its differentiated MICE strategy to become the venue for summit meetings is attracting many heads of state or government. For example, at the Korea-ASEAN meeting in 2009, 11 global leaders visited Jeju, and so did the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at Jeju Peace Forum. In 2010, Korea-China-Japan trilateral summit was also held in Jeju.
That has proved our competitiveness as a popular MICE city. Visits from many world leaders have led to improved national brand and helped make the island the regional hub city of MICE in Northeast Asia. It has become a MICE resort in Asia.
Q: How much is the MICE industry related to the regional economy of Jeju?
A: The MICE industry has a ripple effect directly and indirectly on the local economy in various fields.
The participants of MICE are tourists, who can bring high-added value to the city. At least 20% up to 40% of sales in the hotel, food and beverage, and transportation industries have come from MICE.
Beside such direct sales, given indirect effects and job creation from MICE, the impact of MICE on the local economy is very huge.
For example, last October top hotels in the Jungmun Tourist Complex were fully booked during the month because of various conferences from home and abroad including 8,000 people from a leadership seminar by Amway Korea.
Q: What infrastructure do you have to make the MICE industry more competitive?
A: Jeju International Convention Center is the venue for huge international conferences. 4,300 people can participate in meetings and conferences at the same time, and its banquet halls can accommodate 2,000 people.
In addition, across Jeju Island, there are nearly 11,782 rooms from a total of 108 accommodations. Among them are 17 five-star hotels with 4,133 rooms, second largest in terms of number following Seoul.
The convention center and five-star hotels are located together in the Jungmoon Tourist Complex, and you can go to main tourist sites in the island within one hour.
Such well-constructed infrastructure sets Jeju apart from other cities home and abroad in MICE competitiveness.
Q: What is Jeju’s merit as a MICE city?
A: Unlike other cities, Jeju is a resort-style MICE city. That means it is easy for the city to connect the convention industry with tourism. Jeju Island has four seasons with different beauty of each season.
Jeju has excellent scenic views with South Korea’s highest mountain Halla, 386 parasite volcanoes called “oreum,” more than 160 lava caves, and clean and emerald waters of the sea. In addition, it has unique culture with various folktales about 18,000 gods.
Moreover, it is safe and clean city with excellent geographical conditions. Therefore, people can hold meetings safely and then go on a tour of the island, which is the main reasons why many choose Jeju for their event destination, according to our recent survey.