From January to October 2018, Seoul successfully secured 40 international conferences, which is estimated to bring more than 35,000 international delegates to the city over the coming years. Of the 40 international conferences, 12 are considered large-scale conferences (i.e., conferences with more than 1,000 delegates), which account for approximately 25,000 international delegates.
According to the Union of International Associations (UIA) International Meetings Statistics Report published this past June, the korean capital was the third most popular international meetings city from 2015 to 2017. During 2017, the city successfully secured 42 international conferences with a total of 30,325 participants. Of these conferences, there were 11 large-scale meetings with more than 1,000 delegates, accounting for 18,500 participants.
In 2018, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the city’s Convention Bureau secured the approximately 3,000-delegate American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Innovation in Oncology Symposium 2020 this past August, and the World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2021, beating out candidate cities Tokyo, Japan and Greater Noida, India this past June. The World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2021, a conference that brings together more than 2,000 ob-gyn doctors and scholars, will be the first edition held in Korea and the third to be held in Asia.
Table: International Conference Wins and Participant Figures for Seoul (2015-2018)
|Year||International Conference Wins||Number of Participants||Number of International Participants|
|2018 (as of October)||40||35,000||35,000|
Other major international conferences coming to the city include the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Asia Pacific Conference 2020 (2,000 participants), the IVV Olympiad 2021 (5,000 participants), the Institute of Electronic Engineers, Inc.’s International Conference on Communications 2022 (2,000 participants), the Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) Congress 2021 (1,000 participants), and the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) (1,000 participants).
The Seoul Metropolitan Government credits joint marketing and bidding with members of the Seoul MICE Alliance (SMA), a public-private partnership between the city and 299 companies in the MICE industry, for recent conference wins. This past March, the Korean Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Seoul Tourism Organization, and Coex Convention & Exhibition Center presented a bid proposal at the London headquarters of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Impressed by the group effort, the board of directors announced that Seoul would be the destination for the 2021 conference this past June.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government’s director-general of the Tourism & Sports Bureau, Joo Yong-Tae, said: “Global attention thanks to the inter-Korean summits and the growing power of Hallyu (the Korean pop culture wave) appear to be having a positive impact on preference for Seoul as a meetings destination.” He added, “With the announcement of Seoul’s world top-three ranking as a meetings city, Seoul will strengthen its joint marketing with SMA members to attract even more international conferences.”