Jeju Island has dusted off its image as a quintessential honeymoon getaway and is now building its reputation as a multifaceted destination for corporate groups for meetings, conferences and incentives.
Its lofty goal of penetrating an industry largely dominated by Seoul was not without challenges, but the hard work of both officials and private citizens of the self-governing province has started bearing fruit.
Five years ago, when the Jeju Convention and Visitors Bureau (JCVB) started positioning the island as an alternative South Korean site for business events, it drew blank looks from corporate event organisers at international trade shows.
“Now, when I go overseas to meet these organisers, I am telling them how the island has improved,” says Chundo Yang, head of marketing at the JCVB.
The International Convention Center (ICC) Jeju has been an indispensable companion in the island’s journey of transition. No destination can hope to be a serious A in the industry without a world-class venue that is capable of a wide range of events of varying complexity. What’s more, it features state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities, meetings systems and convention halls that are equipped with simultaneous interpretation capabilities for up to eight languages.
Located in the Jungmun Resort Complex, in the fast-developing Seogwipo City, the facility covers an area of 63,125sqm, spread over seven storeys. (Two floors are in the basement.) It is now an iconic structure in the area with its distinctive glass walls and unobstructed ocean views.
“The opening of ICC Jeju was significant, because it put Jeju on the map as a viable destination for international conferences,” says the facility’s president Kim Hyung Soo.
“Communication, information-sharing, relationship-building are hallmarks of international gatherings. ICC Jeju has bridged differences of nationality, race, religion and ideology.”
Known as the venue of choice for high-level diplomatic gatherings, it hosted the Asean Commemorative Summit in 2009, which saw heads of states from the 10-country grouping in attendance together with South Korean president Lee Myung Bak.
Last year, it was the site of the Third Trilateral Summit Meeting between the South Korean president, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama.
Furthermore, ICC Jeju also acts as a multipurpose cultural space with a number of artistic events and performances taking place within its walls.
It is also a preferred site for many conferences and corporate meetings both international and domestic.
“We offer a shuttle service, discounted rental rate and special packages targeted at small corporate meetings,” Kim says. “By April 2011, we expect to complete the development of various themed event programmes and teambuilding programmes that will attract more corporate events to our venue.”
Just seven years old, ICC Jeju remains a work in progress, as steady upgrades and improvements are being put in place. In order to deliver further convenience to the centre’s visitors, it now has a duty-free shop and a string of F&B outlets on the ground floor.
Moving forward, the centre is partnering with the government and the private sector in a one-stop-shop marketing effort that focuses on Jeju as a destination.
“We are also speaking to our targets. We have experts for the China and Japan markets, knowing fully well that Jeju can be an attractive destination for these two huge markets because of our geographical location and potential to develop,” says Kim.
Total floor area: 63,125sqm spread over seven storeys
Main conference hall: 4,061sqm that can seat 4,500 people theatre-style, 3,500 in a classroom configuration and 1,500 in an auditorium set-up
Other conference halls: 25
Meeting Rooms: 10
Event hall: 2,394sqm
that can accommodate up to 2,450 people
Eido Plaza, an outdoor garden overlooking the ocean, is perfect for cocktails and performances. There is also a VIP room that is fitted with videoconferencing system and can seat up to 22 people
93 Seong-cheon no, Seogwipo, Jeju, South Korea, 697-120
tel: +82 2 775 1091 and 1092