The Union of International Associations (UIA) Associations Round
Table – Asia-Pacific 2020 recently took place in Seoul — that is, a
virtual city, complete with historical buildings and landmarks, which
mirrored the South Korean capital.
Working closely with the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO), UIA hosted
two days of workshops, conference sessions and virtual tours in a
number of the city's iconic venues.
The main conference, for instance, was the UNESCO
World-Heritage-listed Changdeokgung Palace; the famous Namsan Seoul
Tower was the information centre (where attendees could chat and
download extensive information on MICE in Seoul); the floating island
venues of Some Sevit hosted workshops; Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DPP),
for virtual 360-degree tours; and Seoul Botanic Park was the site for
group and one-on-one discussions.
Participants at the 17-18 September event could take virtual city
tours of all these locations via a theatre at DPP. Some were event
exclusives – like a live, 360-degree guided tour of Namsangol Hanok
Village and the Some Sevit floating island.
Tours of event venues featured real-life visuals and augmented
reality features that displayed total capacity for each venue.
Information about the venue also periodically appeared as attendees
'toured' the venue, with the ability to ask live questions.
Additional (pre-recorded) video tours showcased activities like
Korean cooking classes, a five-senses virtual experience, a rikshaw tour
and a temple-stay.
To keep participants engaged and encourage them to explore Seoul 2.0,
organisers 'gamified' the city tour and, much like stamp-collection
tours at live events, participants were encouraged to snap and share
images on social media in order to win a prize.
While the meeting sessions experienced a few technical difficulties,
STO's immersive approach to virtual destination marketing proved a
marvel of technology and organisation.