The Korea MICE Expo (KME), South Korea's largest trade show for incentive planners and meeting professionals, is shaking things up for its 19th annual gathering. Set to take place on June 14-15, 2018, in Songdo Convensia, Incheon, it is expected to draw more than 2,000 MICE industry professionals and 300 exhibiting local service providers, including convention bureaus, unique venues, and travel agencies -- and to differ in significant ways from previous years.
To encourage interactivity, this year's expo will forgo the usual sit-down gala dinner and forums. A networking party will replace the gala dinner in an effort to let guests interact more freely. Additionally, convention bureaus will not only showcase their MICE expertise, but also their local food specialties during the reception.
"We want this expo to be bigger and meaningful to all the participants," said Chulbeum Park, director of the Korea Tourism Organization meetings and incentives team. "We will make KME 2018 a platform where buyers and suppliers can truly acquire business potentials."
The KME will also have a theme -- "Hallyu meets MICE" -- for the first time, which will be incorporated into new venues, activities, and discussions related to popular Korean films, dramas, and music (the Korean word hallyu refers to the mainstream fascination with Korean pop culture, which reportedly started in the late 1990s). An opening keynote by Soo-Wook Ahn, executive director of SM Entertainment, one of the leading entertainment groups in Korea, will tackle how to incorporate hallyu into the MICE industry.
The event will also have new highlights including destination presentations, a knowledge cafe, young MICE professionals' booth, cultural performances, and tours showcasing some of Korea's leading destinations for incentive travel and corporate meetings.
"Korea has become a favorable destination for incentive travel, especially for groups coming from Southeast Asia," said Baeho Kim, acting executive director of Korea MICE Bureau. "The increasing number of groups returning to Korea is a testament that the country has an infinite selection of places and activities that are able to please varying preferences."