SEOUL Tourism Organization promotes Seoul as a top spot for international visitors more passionately than any other entity in Korea. The company is a public-private cooperative venture between the Seoul City Government and private firms. “We speed up Seoul’s progress toward becoming a worldclass business and cultural hub,” an employee told BusinessKorea.
These days, effective and advanced city marketing has become a crucial element in the multi-billion-dollar international tourism industry. “Thus, the Seoul Tourism Organization was launched in February, 2008 to spearhead Seoul’s campaign to become a prominent travel destination,” said another employee at the organization.
Seoul Tourism Organization provides overseas marketing services, technical support for international conventions and incentives for investors in the tourism sector. The company is a central source for overseas tourist information concerning Seoul and develops and distributes merchandise linked to city promotions. In addition to helping plan new hotels, performance facilities, convention complexes and theme parks, the Seoul Tourism Organization advises on the development of the city’s transportation, restaurant and entertainment industries. The organization supports tourism in fields such as medical treatment, cultural events and international sports.
Employing incentive programs to draw major international gatherings to Seoul, Seoul Tourism Organization promotes a broad spectrum of activities known as the MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition) business in close cooperation with the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The company is a key player in the city’s efforts to become a destination of exceptional value for meeting planners from around the world.
In addition, Seoul Tourism Organization supports groups and organizations wanting to host international meetings in Seoul with a maximum of 60 million won after reviewing their plans. The company practices effective convention marketing by offering programs to attract events and a system to support such groups and organizations.
As a result of Seoul Tourism Organization’s aggressive PR marketing, Seoul secured the rights to host the 29th World Congress of Internal Medicine in 2014 and the 26th International Society of Hypertension Biennial Scientific Meeting 2016 last year. This year, Seoul attracted 12 large international events, such as the 2011 High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2014 and the International Congress on Occupational Health in 2015.
Meanwhile, Seoul ranked seventh in the 2008 international meeting hosting city standings of the UIA. Among Asian cities, Seoul came third. This scorecard is evaluated to lay the foundation for making Seoul one of the five major convention cities in the world. Seoul Tourism Organization will focus on overseas publicizing activities while developing new markets in the Middle East. The Seoul promotion company is planning on hosting a MICE expo in Seoul to attract buyers and exhibitors to the city.
“To be a world-class city in the MICE industry, Seoul needs a big improvement in its infrastructure, such as development of a convention complex, said Samuel Koo, president and CEO of Seoul Tourism Organization. “In addition, the city should expand marketing capabilities to attract more foreign participants in MICEs, develop related products to promote foreign consumption, as well as programs to enhance the brand power of Seoul.”
“Seoul Tourism Organization can foster communication and cooperation between public agencies, private enterprises and all active players of the urban network. The MICE industry is a high-value-added futureoriented industry selected as a new growth engine industry by the government which has been promoting green growth,” Koo said. “The promotion of the MICE industry can improve a nation’s industrial structure and create synergies with its related industries and new jobs.”
“Our goal is clear,” said Koo. “We aim to make Seoul the fifth-ranked city in the world and the top-ranked city in Asia in the MICE industry by 2015. So we are striving to attract not only traditional conventions, such as academic meetings and international conferences, but also corporate meetings, tourism events and exhibitions.”