The Korea MICE Expo 2017 opened on June 15 in Incheon at the Songdo Convensia Convention Center, a state-of-the-art facility 17 miles outside of Seoul. Approximately 300 domestic and international buyers and 290 suppliers were on hand. 2,700 visitors were expected to attend the two-day gathering.
Peter Jang, Chief Marketing Officer of the Busan Tourism Organization, was not only impressed with the traffic on the show floor this year but with the caliber of attendees. "We have met with lots of potential buyers who can create many MICE events," said Jang. "The difference from years past is they are more qualified this year."
The MICE Expo 2017 is hosted by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and the Incheon Tourism Organization. It is the eighteenth edition of the Korea MICE Expo since it began as the Korea Convention Fair in 2000.
Korea's capital city of Seoul is a meetings powerhouse. According to the Union of International Associations, a nonprofit research institute based in Belgium, Seoul was the third most popular city for international meetings last year. It hosted 526 meetings in 2016, behind only Singapore (888 meetings) and Brussels (906 meetings). On the national level, Korea hosted the most international meetings in the world last year, with a total of 997 meetings.
Adding to the excitement of this year's expo is the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are being held in Pyeongchang in February. The Winter Games, which run from Feb. 9-25, 2018, are expected to bring 65,000 athletes and officials, Olympic families, and media from about 95 countries to the city. The Paralympic Games, held March 9-18, will bring 3,000 participants from about 45 countries. This is the first Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea and the second Olympics, following Seoul's 1988 Summer Games. The Olympic mascots, Soohorang the white tiger and Bandabi the Asian black bear, helped cut the ribbon to signify the opening of the expo.