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Kobe's MICE sector turns 40 with new brand message

Japan's second most popular international conference destination is calling for 'change makers' in a time of innovation.

Kobe is among Japan's most prolific international MICE cities, with an average of 400 meetings hosted annually.
Kobe is among Japan's most prolific international MICE cities, with an average of 400 meetings hosted annually. Photo Credit:Kobe Convention Bureau

To celebrate the 40th anniversary since Kobe established itself as a MICE city with the launch of the Kobe Convention Center in 1981, the Kobe Convention Bureau (KCB) has unveiled a new brand message: 'Kobe for Change Makers'.

KCB says the new identity is backed by the destination's four main strengths: its port, welfare and disaster prevention initiatives, medical innovations, and its dynamism — the latter referring to ventures into the IT, clean energy, aerospace, and aviation sectors.

In particular, Kobe is known for its Biomedical Innovation Cluster which features more than 370 organisations including universities, research institutes, hospitals, and biomedical companies within a 2km-radius — forming a hotbed for the future of medical research. Kobe is also credited with producing the first-ever surgical robot which successfully performed its first operation in December 2020, as well as supercomputer 'Fugaku' which has been used to support Covid-19 related research.

This rebrand also ties in with Kobe's 2025 vision, which focuses on achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

The new logo design incorporates the Rokko Mountain Range and the Seto Inland Sea that flanks Kobe, representing its natural assets as well as hopes for waves of innovation, and for 'change makers' locally and globally to meet and innovate.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Kobe is among Japan's most prolific international MICE cities, with an average of 400 meetings hosted annually. High-profile events hosted in the city include the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2005, the G7 Kobe Health Ministers’ Meeting in 2016, and the 17th International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics World Congress in 2019.

Kobe is able to handle large-scale conventions of more than 22,000 participants, supported by more than 60 facilities, and more than 17,000 hotel rooms.

40 years of MICE in Kobe: A brief timeline

1981
Japan's first convention precinct, the Kobe Convention Center opens as part of the mega Portopia 81’ exposition.

1982
Kobe is declared a 'convention city', the first in Japan.

2000
Kobe Convention Bureau launches Japanʼs first meetings and events support package, 'Meet in Kobe'.

2013
The Japan Tourism Agency picks Kobe as a 'Global MICE City'.

2017-2019
Kobe is ranked second in Japan for the number of international meetings held locally for three years running.

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