GROUP reservations and enquiries to hold tours and events in Seoul from July onwards but a “restoration tourism infrastructure is urgently needed” for the South Korean capital to increase its competitiveness and be ready for a “leap” into the global conference circuit by 2023.
The city’s convention bureau held an online meeting with major DMCs in the Seoul MICE Alliance to brief its members on the efforts that need to be made as Covid shifts from being a global pandemic to endemic and group travel resumes.
Support measures for 150 MICE-related companies were shared by Seoul Tourism Organisation alongside a strategy of recruiting PCOs to develop the 2022 S-BIC (Seoul-based International Conference) to place local professional conference organisers on the world stage.
“It was a very meaningful time listening to the professionals’ suggestions for the recovery and preparing for a leap of the tourism and MICE industry together,” said Ki-Yon Kil, CEO and president of Seoul Tourism Organisation.
The meeting heard that “group reservations and inquiries are actively coming in for the third quarter of this year” with high expectations of a return to normal in the tourism and MICE industry restarting “in earnest from 2023”.
Organisers, however, fear that due to the “prolonged pandemic” the competitive edge of tourism operations such as air routes, chartered bus operations, restaurants and events customised for overseas visitors may have weakened.
To address concerns about the readiness of Seoul to welcome back international conferences, a revamped 2022 Seoul MICE Industry Support Plan was announced in March with a “fostering project” to encourage long-term partnerships between local PCOs and international organisers.
Jin Hyeok Park, director of Seoul Convention Bureau said: “We will actively discover new international conferences with global growth potential through this project and continue to support step-by-step with the goal of gradual globalisation over the next five years.”