'Slow and steady wins the race,' says Seoul Convention Bureau

Events resume in the Korean capital, while enhanced support for planners includes personal hygiene kits, thermal imaging cameras, and venue disinfection services.

Business events have returned to Seoul, as event planners and venues focus on maintaining strict health and safety regulations.
Business events have returned to Seoul, as event planners and venues focus on maintaining strict health and safety regulations. Photo Credit: SCB

SEOUL — The South Korean capital has cautiously reopened its business events and MICE industry, following the successful hosting of the Korea Landscape and Garden Expo 2020 from 3 to 6 June — the first event to take place in the city since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

This was swiftly followed by the Seoul International Dental Exhibition and Scientific Congress 2020 (SIDEX 2020), which attracted 4,860 attendees across two days (6-7 June). 

Forging ahead with such as a large event caused some initial concern among stakeholders, particularly with regards to crowd management, but frequent cleaning and disinfection of the venue, along with mandatory face masks for all attendees and regular monitoring of indoor air quality meant the "mass gathering" did not result in any new cases of Covid-19. This fact was proudly published on the SIDEX website two weeks after the event.

The 10th Korea Smart Device Trade Show 2020 (KITAS) was then held from 23-25 July, welcoming 19,862 attendees. 

Jihyun Kim, director of the MICE planning team at Seoul Convention Bureau (part of Seoul Tourism Organization), said the city's business events industry is recovering, albeit with a strict focus on safety measures.

“Seoul’s MICE industry started to host MICE events in June... and the industry has worked extremely hard to keep the attendees safe and sound," she said.

While Kim is positive about the industry's 'slow but steady' recovery, she remains cautious about the fickle nature of the pandemic.

"The situation might change in a day, as we’ve seen many times during the last six months, but we still believe that keeping positive will give us better energy to move forward,” she said.

 

Enhanced safety measures and 'low touch' solutions have helped to restore confidence among event attendees in Seoul.
Enhanced safety measures and 'low touch' solutions have helped to restore confidence among event attendees in Seoul. Photo Credit: SCB

 

Her positivity is not unfounded, however, as South Korea was among the first destinations to release new management and hygiene guidelines for venues (the Central Disease Control Headquarters and Central Disaster management Headquarters released Disinfection Guidelines to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 at Public and Multi-purpose Facilities on 2 April), and several of Seoul's convention centres have introduces their own procedures and measures off the back of these official guidelines. 

As a result, event bookings are returning to the COEX Convention & Exhibition Center, with eight international exhibitions and conventions confirmed from July to December 2020, along with several domestic events. According to SCB, venues such as SETEC, aT Center, and Sejong University Conference Center are also starting to host event under strict quarantine measures.

Event planners are also going the extra mile. At the recent Seoul International Wines & Spirits Expo 2020, for example, on top of mandatory measures such as temperature checks, maintaining physical distance, and mask-wearing, organisers also distributed plastic gloves.

SCB's PLUS SEOUL support programme has also added more options to help event planners adjust to the 'new normal'. This includes support for the provision of personal hygiene kit, thermal imaging camera rental, and venue disinfection services. 

"The MICE industry of Seoul is showing an increase in catching up like a tortoise in the classic story — slow but steady wins the race," said Kim.



Latest News