by Andrea Doyle | September 05, 2017

Meetings Powerhouse
Historically the heart of Korea, not only is Seoul an economic hub driving cultural innovation, but it's a meetings powerhouse. According to the Union of International Associations (UIA), it was the third-most-popular city for international meetings last year.

On the national level, Korea ranked first by hosting 997 international conferences, 53 percent of which were located in Seoul, followed by Busan and Jeju Island.

Seoul's largest convention center, Coex, opened in 1979 as the first convention and exhibition center in Korea, with the aim of providing a venue for global trade and cultural exchange. The center includes 12 exhibition halls and 93 meeting rooms. The World Trade Center, which houses Coex, is also home to Asia's largest underground shopping center.

As a world leader in technology, Korea boasts some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, both wired and wireless. Seoul's city-wide Wi-Fi coverage allows connectivity everywhere. The city is also the center of Asian pop culture and has propelled brands like Samsung and Hyundai around the world.

Seoul is graced by the Hangang River that flows through the center of the city as well as majestic mountains. Public parks of all types and sizes are scattered throughout the city. One of the newest is Seoullo 7017, named after a Seoul Station overpass that was built in the 1970s and that today is a pedestrian promenade with more than 24,000 indigenous plants in a variety of colors, a foot bath, and trampolines for the young. Another area in Seoul perfect for a stroll is along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. Set 15 feet below street level, this green oasis in the midst of the city features serene waterfalls, nearly two dozen overhead bridges, art installations, and street performers. It's hard to believe that the original stream was paved over in the late 1950s.

The 123-story Lotte World Tower, which recently opened in Seoul, is Korea's tallest building, boasting the world's highest glass-bottom observation deck -- definitely not for the faint of heart. A mall, aquarium, cinema, and concert hall join the world's highest swimming pool that is housed on the 85th floor, and the world's fastest elevator whisking visitors to the top in one minute. For groups, Signiel Seoul, a 235-room luxury hotel set in the World Tower, has the world's highest ballroom and function spaces.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), a futuristic building that opened in 2014, has quickly become one of Seoul's most striking landmarks. Event facilities housed here include two Art Halls, the Design Exhibition Hall, and a Green Showroom with a rooftop lawn. But as with so much in this city, the modern is juxtaposed with the traditional: the DDP sits beneath the slope of scenic Naksan Park and next to the ancient Dongdaemun, the East Gate.

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This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.