SEOUL Convention Bureau is adopting a slowly-but-surely approach to resuming events with officials comparing it to the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare.
Bureau chiefs say their approach is showing results with the KITAS smart device trade show at Coex, July 23-25, attracting 19,862 attendees over three days and the SIDEX 2020 dental conference, June 6-7, bringing 4,860 to the same venue.
These events, along with several others at Coex and Seoul’s major business events venues, went ahead with strict hygiene and safety protocols including use of a QR code to enable the tracing of attendees. The code would help health authorities contain cases of infection.
“The MICE industry of Seoul is showing an increase in catching up like a tortoise in the classic story – slow but steady wins the race,” said a spokesman for Seoul Convention Bureau.
“Even though there is always risk in gatherings, more people have adopted the safety measures on a regular basis.”
Coex, Seoul’s most prominent venue, has started to host large-scale exhibitions and other events though there are few conventions, according to officials. The venue is due to host about eight international exhibitions and conferences, but all are vulnerable to abrupt changes.
Other convention centres in Seoul such as SETEC, aT Center and Sejong University Conference Centre have also started holding events under thorough measures to detect and prevent infection.
MEASURES IN SEOUL’S TORTOISE STRATEGY
– The official Disinfection Guidelines to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19 at Public and Multi-purpose Facilities were issued on April 2. Convention centres were advised to adopt their own procedures and measures.
– Each organiser adopts the necessary protocol and announces specific measures based on the type of event; for example, plastic gloves provided in addition to other personal protection equipment at the Seoul International Wines & Spirits Expo 2020 as the event involved the handling of goods.
– Each attendee is first registered with a QR code enable a tracking system around the country so anyone with potential exposure to the virus could be located.
– Mask-wearing is mandatory to enter any public venues and temperatures are checked. PPE, venue disinfecting, sanitiser for attendees along with frequent reminders and the refreshing of indoor air are put in place.
– The PLUS SEOUL support program for the city’s MICE suppliers has been revised to provide more options including personal-hygiene Kit support, thermal-imaging camera rental and venue disinfecting services.
The Korea Landscape and Garden Expo 2020 from June 3 to 6, was the first exhibition in three months since the Covid slowdown followed by Seoul International Dental Exhibition and Scientific Congress 2020 (SIDEX 2020).
Stakeholders were worried about going ahead with SIDEX as it was known the event would attract thousands. However, organisers provided a successful safety protocol that led to a notification on its official website two weeks later of no cases of infection occurring from the event or in anyone related to the event.
The 10th Korea Smart Device Trade Show 2020 (KITAS), July 23 to 25, welcomed 19,862 over three days. KITAS was one of seven international MICE events that took place at COEX in July.
“The difficult situation has been prolonged for more than half-a-year now and there has not been many positive prospects for the near futures of global MICE industry or tourism,” the spokesman said.
“However, Seoul is keeping its place on the top for recovery and on the bottom for severity according to the Global COVID-19 Index.”