Korea goes on MICE aggressive

Based on the statistics from the Union of International Associates (UIA) in June this year, 563 international meetings that were conducted in the Korean Republic, making it the fifth top country for international meetings. Singapore was ranked the top business destination, followed by Japan, USA and Belgium.

Despite stiff competition from other meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong, the Korean Tourism Organisation (KTO) is looking to push ahead.

The city's largest MICE event in Korea was the Korea MICE Expo (KME). It attracted 3, 767 business events in Seoul in 2012.

While Seoul is the nation's top ranking city when it comes to hosting business events, Jeju as well as Busan are also serious contenders for MICE.

According to The Jeju Weekly, Jeju's print English-language newspaper, the island is ranked 22nd as an international MICE city, holding 0.7 percent of top international events.

From 2008-2012, Jeju's global market share for the MICE industry grew from 0.4% to 0.7% of top international events and is well on its way to being a strong MICE destination.

As part of its strategy going forward, the KTO works closely with Koreans brands such as Korean Airlines to further promote the country as a quality MICE destination.

It is also working through its various offices in Asia to reach the local markets. For example, KTO Singapore has newly launched a campaign titled the Master Planner Challenge 2013.

According to Caitrin Moh, MICE manager for the Korea Tourism Organisation, this was the first time that this campaign was launched and it is targeted at companies who are intending to plan an incentive trip to South Korea.

For the past two years, its marketing strategy is to map out different segments to build its network and to establish its presence in the South Korean market. Besides that, the organisation also conducts regular product training classes for its trade members as well as co-hosted familiarisation trips to corporate clients and top MICE partners with hotel partners such as Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.