One of the world-renowned convention cities, Busan where the daily life of citizens harmonises with five-star luxury beach hotels, exhibition and convention infrastructure, and commercial facilities for recreation and leisure, is busy leaping towards becoming a ‘Global Top 10 MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, & exhibitions) City’ in the post-pandemic era.
Busan has successfully hosted APEC South Korea 2005, 2012 Lions Clubs International Convention and 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, all with high evaluations by participants. The city has great potential for connections for international conferences, marine leisure, show business, tourism and shopping, and a great ripple effect.
‘HAEVENUE’ (Haeundae International Conference Complex), in particular, has promising potential for MICE business in Busan, and is intent on growing into an ‘optimal MICE destination’ in the post-Covid world. HAEVENUE is an area designated by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in March 2020 and covers 2,390,000sqm including BEXCO in the Centum City business district, Nurimaru APEC House, and deluxe hotels in Haeundae. A huge amount of exclusive investment will be put into MICE infrastructure over the next four years. Moreover, Busan was selected as the ‘first Korean international tourism city’, with a special budget of 150 billion South Korean won for tourism infrastructure. An official from Busan Tourism Organisation (BTO) has said that Busan will take a lead in the global MICE industry in the era of post-Covid, with a major focus on tourism and MICE.
MICE venues along the beach… strengths based on related infrastructure
As the world entered the third year of the Covid pandemic, the global MICE industry has witnessed the rapid development of conference technologies encompassing hybrid methods (online and offline), VR meetings, holograms, and the metaverse, while seeing the hosts raising the bar. In addition, a city’s eligibility as a ‘perfect MICE destination/attraction’ is not only based on infrastructure, but also on the knowledge and skills of the local community.
The MICE special zone, ‘HAEVENUE’ – from the Centum City to Nurimaru APEC House to Haeundae area – is the only international conference complex in Korea for bleisure travel where business and leisure can be enjoyed at the same time. BEXCO (Busan Exhibition & Convention Center), hotels and accommodation providers (Paradise Hotel, Park Hyatt, Westin Josun Busan, Grand Josun), theatres (Busan Cinema Center), and unique venues (Nurimaru APEC House and Museum DAH) are all located close by in this area.
Busan is the one and only city (among Korea’s five MICE cities designated as global convention complexes: Busan, Goyang, Gwangju, Daegu, and Incheon) where the beach is surrounded by convention centres and luxury hotels. All of MICE facilities for conventions, exhibitions, shopping, shows, tours, and team building are accessible within a 20-30 minute walk or a 10 minute drive, regardless of event size. Furthermore, as the BEXCO Exhibition Center III and other new places will open gradually in 2023, the potential, including for expansion, of HAEVENUE is great, as is the expected profitability.
“HAEVENUE is a place that has convenience, safety, accessibility, and the unique MICE infrastructure only provided in Busan,” said the official from BTO. “Busan is the optimal MICE destination with affluent MICE industry resources, boasting quarantine, safety and security levels. We ask for your interest in Busan, so that it will become a MICE industry paradise and a leader in the post-pandemic era.”