Korea Takes First Place in UIA Global Meetings Ranking

Korea now ranks in the #1 spot worldwide for global congresses hosted the previous year, accordingto the most recent International Meetings Statistics Report released by the Union of InternationalAssociations (UIA). The result reflects strong growth by established Korean meeting cities
such as Seoul, as well as rising destinations like Busan, Jeju, and Incheon, contributing to thecountry’s increasingly diverse business events portfolio.

The findings show Korea as a country rising from 891 meetings in 2015 to 997 in 2016, reflecting an11.89% increase over the previous year. Making up the national equation, Seoul, which maintained its3rd-place city ranking, hosted 526 meetings in 2016, up from 494 in 2015 (up 4.97%), while nowranking in 14th place, the port city of Busan hosted 152 meetings in 2016 (increase of 1.33%) andJeju, which increased its ranking from 19 th to 17 th place, held 116 meetings in 2016 – four more than2015, reflecting an increase of 3.57%.

“The UIA’s latest findings are a strong reflection of Korea’s broad growth not only across the country’smeetings section, but across the country itself,” said Korea MICE Bureau Executive Director KapsooKim. “Established event destinations like Seoul are continuing to show their prowess, while anincreasing number of regional capitals are giving global meetings planners an increasing variety ofoptions, and so boosting Korea’s appeal for congresses” he added.

Nationwide infrastructure growth continues to bolster Korea’s industry competitiveness, including new facilities such as the Paradise City integrated resort next to Incheon International Airport (itself due toopen a second passenger terminal later in the year) and expansions to existing facilities such asSongdo ConvensiA, which are expected to finish in 2018. South Korea’s tallest building, the new555m-tall Lotte World Tower, recently opened in Seoul; the tower is also home to the luxury-brand
235-guestroom Signiel Hotel. A raft of new boutique hotels are also opening up across Korea,boosting budget accommodation options for business visitors.

Meanwhile, operational services are growing in new regional hotspots, such as convention bureauestablished for Cheongsong in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, and establishment of the GangwonConvention Bureau in response to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, set to take place fromFebruary 9-25 next year. Event planners have also been able to enjoy an expanded range of servicesand support for locally-hosted events from the Korea MICE Bureau, the nation’s officially government-sponsored agency for business events.