Korea - A Successful Meetings Destination - 2006-10-31

Successful Meetings OCTOBER 2006

Its gross national product of $787.5 billion makes tiny Korea a manufacturing giant-a most successful competitor amid the rest of Asia's lions, tigers, and dragons. Among the dozens of trade shows and conferences that are slated in the coming year, the fields of biotech, electronics, and auto parts are well represented. Attendees for these and other shows should stay for the unique incentives that set this country of haunting beauty (and a haunted past) apart from all the rest.

Essential Tool Box
Convention Centers: COEX (Seoul), 4.6 million sf of dedicated space. Busan Exhibition & Convention Center, 337,580 sf of dedicated space. EXCO (Daegu) 208,230 sf of dedicated space.
For complete listings, visit Quick Facility Search at
www.mimegasite.com
Daily Business Costs, Seoul:
Hotel $313 F&B $134
For More Info:
Korea National Tourist
Organization
www.kntoamerica.com
*Business Travel News 2006 Corporate Travel Index

The Big News
It's no secret that the Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea, has uneasy dealings with its neighbor, the notorious North Korea. Tensions between the two countries-and the world-were heightened this year as North Korea launched a missile test in July. The test was unilaterally condemned, even by China, North Korea's traditional ally. A six-party summit, with Korea, North Korea, the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan, was scheduled for late September.

But even if relations remain somewhat charged, there is one issue on which the North and South are united, and that is, surprisingly, the touristic development of their mutual border, known alternatively as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the 38th Parallel. Today, the Korea Tourist Office refers to the DMZ as "a place where time has come to a stop and nature remains undisturbed." The DMZ, which is 155 miles long and less than three miles wide, has been steadily evolving from a war zone to a combination historical museum, art park, and ecohabitat. A variety of tours are available for this area, which remains a touchstone for Korean families that were separated by the Zone, for U.S. veterans of the Korean Conflict, and for students of Cold War history.

Facility Update SEOUL France-based Accor announced it will convert an office building close to the existing Samsung Research and Development Centre into the 234-room Ibis Suwon Seoul. The property will be part of a mixed-use development, including retail, banquet facilities, and a food court. The property will be Accor's third in Seoul.
* The 535-room Grand InterContinental Seoul wound up a two-year renovation in Jun. The property has redesigned its 26th-floor club lounge and refurbished its convention facilities and banquet rooms, including the grand ballroom, with new carpeting, lighting, and interiors. Newly expanded and refurbished guest rooms are now the largest in Seoul.
* The 185-room Park Hyatt opened in May 2005 with seven meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 65 theater-style.
BUSAN Work continues on the 107-story Lotte Hotel II tower, which will be one of the tallest buildings in the world when completed in 2012.
GANGWON PROVINCE The 477-room Kangwon Land Resort & Casino is expected to announce further development of its Vegas-style resort destination. Last year, the resort, which features a casino and a theme park, opened a golf course; this Dec, it expects to debut a ski course.
GYEONGNAM PROVINCE: The 88-room Samsung Hotel Geoje opened last Oct with three meeting rooms.

How to Have a Lotte Fun, and Much More
With all the hoopla surrounding Disney's Hong Kong development, it may come as a surprise that Korea already has a number of amusement parks-and has had them for decades. The most venerable, Everland Festival Park, celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. Still referred to by its former name, Yongin Nature Park (it changed in 1996), Everland is within a 90-minute ride of Seoul and comprises the original nature park, a water park, a speedway, golf club, and other facilities that include a Buddhist art museum. Also near Seoul is Lotte World, named after the Asian conglomerate, Lotte (which also happens to be building the tallest skyscraper in the world in Busan). Opened in 1989, Lotte World features the world's largest indoor theme park, as well as an outdoor amusement park, retail complex, a hotel, a Korean folk museum, and more.

While amusement parks are great places to relax and have fun, attendees looking for cultural experiences will not be disappointed, as DMCs have fascinating tours, in which visitors can stay at Buddhist temples and learn about Korean Buddhism; or enjoy exhibitions of the martial art of taekwondo; or take a cooking class; or all of the above. -TH