Tech-savvy investments position Incheon as next MICE hotspot

South Korea's coastal gateway city has smartly invested in MICE infrastructure, tech and sustainability innovations.

Incheon's Songdo Conference Complex is building a 360° VR-specialised conference facility in Songdo Convensia.
Incheon's Songdo Conference Complex is building a 360° VR-specialised conference facility in Songdo Convensia. Photo Credit: Incheon Metropolitan City Government

In South Korea, the Incheon metropolitan city government has revealed that its showcase Songdo International Conference Complex plans on allotting a budget of KRW 1.2 billion (approximately US$967,890), including the national budget, primarily to build an ambitious 360° VR-specialised conference facility in Songdo Convensia.

Incheon Convention Bureau also launched its new “MICE Hospitality Service 2022” to entice more domestic and international bookings from MICE planners and event organisers for the remainder of the year.

For events with more than 200 in-person participants, the bureau will provide a complimentary welcome desk manned by bilingual support staff, up to four welcome vehicles (25-seater and 45-seater buses) for shuttling visitors, as well as leisure activities support.

Additional MICE-sector support plans by Incheon’s city government include the following:
• Brand development and joint marketing for the Songdo International Conference Complex
• Creating a “smart tourism environment” for MICE organisers and participants
• Fostering MICE businesses and establishing a base for nurturing industry talents
• Developing programmes promoting local culture and tourism resources.

Incheon's intense focus on revitalising its MICE sector is now reaping dividends, with a robust pipeline of international events lined up.

This month, Incheon is hosting AICAS 2022, an IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Circuits and Systems. July sees the return of the Incheon International Ocean Forum (IIOF 2022), a leading forum of the world's maritime cities, co-hosted by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and sponsored by Incheon Port Authority and Yonhap News. The 57th Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation, Asia and Pacific Regions also takes place in July.

In September, Incheon will welcome Interspeech 2022, the world’s largest and most comprehensive conference on the science and technology of spoken language processing, while the world's neurosurgeons will converge for the 19th Biennial Meeting of the World Society for Stereotactic & Functional Neurosurgery (WSSFN 2022).

Looking ahead, Incheon is set to raise its profile on the world stage even higher as it prepares to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 2025.

Incheon has been identified by the South Korean government as one of the country’s five "International Conference Complex" MICE Zones, alongside the cities of Goyang, Gwangju, Busan, and Daegu.

According to its metropolitan city government, Incheon has since invested a total of KRW 2.8 billion (approximately US$ 1.9 million) to solidify its position as an international MICE city.

This funding was utilised to upgrade the complex’s meeting technology support facilities, establishing a virtual studio, a 3D online conference platform, and a hologram theatre. In addition, digital materials were produced in support of various events, such as last November’s UNESCO International Conference on Learning Cities.

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