Busan Bolsters Global MICE Status in 2022

The COVID pandemic has caused many changes in the MICE industry, an industry which creates positive ripple effects throughout all areas of society, including the economy and cultural industries. As we entered the era of a “new normal” in 2022, offline-only MICE events reached their limits and hybrid events were increasingly adopted, accelerating the digital transformation of the MICE industry. Countries around the world are now moving quickly to accommodate these rapidly evolving MICE trends. The city of Busan is also providing a wide range of support to attract and host diverse MICE events and is continuing its efforts to discover unique venues and reinforce communication activities through the promotion of its international conference complex, “HAEVENUE.” As part of these efforts, Busan is preemptively setting a new direction for 2023 and continuing its development as a global MICE city.

2022 Digital Transformation Trends Affecting the MICE Industry

The pandemic created worldwide a new understanding of the true values of the MICE industry. Recently, developed countries have started using the term “business event” instead of MICE, and are implementing long-term growth and development strategies to establish a business event legacy that creates ripple effects throughout adjoining communities. Busan is also actively building upon its business event legacy and is focusing on the effective management of local creative industries. Another trend now seen in the MICE industry is the emergence of online, hybrid, and other new types of MICE events, and the development of the metaverse platform for the holding of hybrid events. The metaverse is a virtual reality space that transcends the boundaries of time and space, allowing conference attendees to communicate with one another in real time using avatars and other means, overcoming all sorts of physical barriers.

One example of a Korean event that took advantage of the metaverse is the Metaverse Expo, which was held in Daegu under the theme “New Values! New World!” Core programs such as the opening ceremony and the main conference were streamed in real time on the metaverse platform and YouTube, enabling participants from all over the world and the public to enjoy the expo anytime, anywhere.

The Busan Tourism Organization (BTO) has similarly been using a virtual platform that allows you to experience the city’s MICE venues and tourist attractions through VR. The platform, which provides tourist information on accommodations and transportation, also offers additional services for visitors to Busan including MICE tour recommendations and discount coupons. The MICE Tourist Information Center even operates a “VR Experience Chair” where people can sit and virtually “experience” Busan’s best tourist spots, which motivates MICE participants to go out and explore Busan in real life.

Reinforcing MICE Competitiveness Through the Unique Charms of Busan

Busan has built a unique MICE infrastructure and is gaining worldwide recognition as an optimal MICE venue. The city of Busan has selected 20 “Unique Venues” that reflect its quintessential traits and characteristics, and is actively carrying out education, promotion, and diverse marketing activities. Each activity is implemented in three stages—new, growing, and maturing–in connection with support policies targeted for each stage. This year, the cultural spaces “Cotton Diary,” “Yacht Tale,” and “The Fullmoon,” where visitors can enjoy and experience Busan’s seas up close, were selected as new “Unique Venues.” By continuously discovering and recognizing the “Unique Venues” of Busan, each with its own charm, Busan is enhancing its appeal as a MICE venue.

Busan has simultaneously been focusing its efforts on developing HAEVENUE, an international conference complex equipped with high-quality marine leisure, international conference, and tourist facilities, to attract and hold diverse events. Currently, the city provides support—ranging from venue rental discounts and tour programs for event participants—for conferences hosted at HAEVENUE. In conjunction with these support programs, the city has been making souvenirs that promote the characteristics of HAEVENUE and is distributing these souvenirs to MICE participants and high-ranking officials in an effort to build a foundation for attracting global conferences in the future.

Mid- and Long-term Growth Goals for MICE City Busan

The Busan Tourism Organization established its goals for the future development and growth of the MICE industry based on its 2022 performance. In order to revitalize the MICE industry that has weakened over the past two COVID-filled years, the BTO conducted a promotional contest for “Unique Venues.” It also provided a wide range of support for events held in Busan and succeeded in attracting and hosting large-scale global events such as the Asian Patent Attorneys Association Council Meeting (APAA 2022) and the International Astronomical Union General Assembly (IAUGA 2022). Based on these successes, the BTO plans to systematically introduce programs in 2023 aimed at key targets, including programs aimed at supporting corporate incentive events and developing customized tourism programs. Furthermore, at a time when real-time communication is more important than ever, the BTO plans to expand its online marketing channels and discover new markets to promote Busan as a MICE city around the world and to vitalize the Busan MICE ecosystem by supporting the joint marketing activities of BMA member companies and the global activities of the Young MICE Group. Lastly, in order to create a MICE base found only in Busan, the BTO will continue to discover new “Unique Venues” and build new successful models for diverse global events by reinforcing its B-Convention consultation services.

In 2022, Busan made great efforts to revitalize the MICE industry and build a legacy. These efforts created a ripple effect in the local community and, through the discovery of “Unique Venues” and hosting events in connection with HAEVENUE, brought about a series of diverse accomplishments. In 2023, Busan aims to actively promote international conference venues, including HAEVENUE, and increase the hosting of exhibitions and roadshows as it attracts world-class events to solidify its status as a global MICE city.