Integrated excellence

South Korea’s business events sector is showing the way in Asia with the country hailed by global DMC Pacific World as one of Asia’s most popular destinations for meetings in 2014. It comes as no surprise then, that the South Korean capital’s main convention centre should reflect this status, with world-class facilities and constantly updated attractions.  

Host to the G20 summit in 2010, Coex Convention and Exhibition Center has been open since 1979 but is renovated regularly. Located in the fashionable Gangnam district, Coex is set in
a complex known as the MICE Cluster comprising two five-star hotels, serviced apartments, a shopping mall, entertainment centre and three multinational office towers. It is Seoul’s answer to an integrated facility in the vein of Macau’s City of Dreams or Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Coex Mall is the complex’s newest attraction, opened in December 2014 and touted as Asia’s largest underground mall. More than 100 restaurants and 200 shops are an escalator journey down from the convention centre and an aquarium, cinema and kimchi museum are among attractions available for delegates between seminars. The Hyundai Department Store is a retail behemoth, offering 10 levels brimming with international and Korean brands.

The mall has opened in time for the long-awaited cultural expo C-festival, which will take place at Coex in April. The festival’s core cultural segment, Asiamania, will exhibit regional cuisine, art and technology, next to showcases on the “Korean Wave” phenomenon and K-pop performances. 

Taking place over a number of Asian public holidays, C-festival is expected to attract 3 million visitors to Seoul from across Japan, China and also Russia, now that the two countries are in the midst of Russia-Korea Mutual Visit Year, which encourages tourism and cultural exchanges. 

Being environmentally aware is no longer optional for venues that want to stay competitive. The centre’s sustainability campaign, Green Coex, has earned itself a 37 per cent higher energy efficiency rating than the Best Practices standard measured by Earthcheck, a global measurement programme that offers environmental standards for venues in the travel industry. A water-recycling system has been introduced along with ventilation upgrades, and the centre is in the midst of testing photovoltaic (solar powered) street lighting, hydrogen batteries and wind generators as energy sources. 

Coex is burgeoning with tech tools, among them a GPS-powered navigation app that provides augmented reality mobile technology, whereby digital information is relayed onto images viewed through a camera phone. Free wifi is available throughout the facility, while event organisers can purchase Internet packages at higher speeds for large groups.  

CoexArtium is the complex’s performance theatre, which, with an 800-seat capacity, is handy for entertaining groups with a musical or concert after a day of meetings. Especially popular among leisure travellers, the three-storey Seven Luck casino is connected to Coex and open only to international visitors. 

Airport access is made simple with Coex’s City Airport Terminal, which has check-in and baggage drop services for 15 international airlines including Korean Air, KLM, Thai airways, United and China Southern, and operates non-stop bus lines to Incheon and Gimpo airports every 15 minutes. 

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