Seoul’s COEX centre was the first purpose-built modern venue in South Korea, a child of the country’s booming economic growth during the 1970s. When it opened in 1979, it was originally known as KOEX, for Korea Exhibitions Centre, the name was changed to COEX in 1988, reflecting the growing importance of conventions.
A number of extensions, additions and renovations, including one currently underway, have kept COEX at the cutting edge of the conference industry. Today the centre faces increased domestic competition from venues such as Kintex at the outskirts of Seoul, Bexco in Busan, ICC Jeju and a number of other centres that have sprung up in provincial centres, including a forthcoming development at Incheon, but it regards itself as still ahead of the pack.
Seoul regularly appears in the top destination lists of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), this is due in no small part to COEX, whose facilities offer ample space and flexibility for conference planners.
The Grand Ballroom, for example, can be partitioned into five rooms and is furnished with state-of-the-art audio-visual and lighting systems.
It’s not just the hardware the counts, of course, and COEX has a skilled in-house conference organising team, whose reputation is such that it has been called upon to organise events in other cities.
The Westin Chosun Hotel is the exclusive on-site caterer for all COEX meeting rooms. Food is prepared in on-site kitchens and brought to your meeting area or banquet room.
The COEX complex houses a large number of retail outlets as well as 200 restaurants. There is a post office, a 17-screen Megabox cinema, an aquarium and even a casino. It claims to be Asia’s largest underground shopping mall.
The venue also benefits from having around 8,000 hotel rooms within a 5km radius. Seven of the closest properties are in the deluxe category the adjacent COEX InterContinental Seoul, its sister property the InterContinental Seoul, The Ritz-Carlton Seoul, the Hotel Lotte World, the Imperial Palace Hotel, Renaissance Hotel Seoul and the Park Hyatt Seoul. Within the COEX complex there is also the Oakwood Premier Coex Centre, a serviced apartment complex.
One of COEX’s major international conferences last year was the World Hospital Congress (ihf.kha.or.kr) from November 6 to 8 organised by the International Hospital Federation (IHF) in conjunction with host partner the Korean Hospital Association. The event included major plenary sessions as well as specialist seminars.
Overall the congress attracted 2,500 participants from 51 countries and was considered such an important conference that major political figures put in special appearances. A welcome speech was given by Oh Se-hoon, mayor of Seoul and the welcome reception and banquet drew as much attention as the academic forums. About 2,000 people attended the event, including a large cohort from the media. Lee Myung-bak, the eventually successful presidential candidate of the Grand National Party, also showed up, taking time off from his hectic campaign schedule.
Bryan Oh, manager, convention marketing team at COEX, says: ”We’re constantly trying to improve our service and our facilities, such as the current phase of work we are doing around the complex.
“Our team also offers the professionalism and expertise that conference organisers can count on. We have built decades of experience and we believe we can offer a level of skill that is the best in the country.”
Bryan Oh, Manager, Convention Marketing Team
Tel: +82 2 6000 1125
Fax:+ 82 2 6000 1303
Key meetings data
Maximum Capacity: 7,000
Number Of Meeting Rooms: 51
Address: COEX, World Trade Center, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-731, Korea