What’s the first thing you think of when you hear Korea? It might be K-Pop and the legacy of PSY – Gangnam style’s still much-copied dance moves. It might be a Korean barbecue and Kimchi. It might be the futuristic skyscrapers that dominate the capital city Seoul.
Korea is all these things, and so much more, especially for business events groups. Korea might be considered the quiet achiever of the Asia Pacific, but the world is now paying attention coming in at 12th spot in the latest ICCA country rankings for meetings, while Seoul took out 15th spot in the global city rankings.
So what makes Korea such a standout? It’s the mix of unexpected influences – buzzing metropolises and tranquil villages, traditional customs merging with futuristic trends, and café culture sitting side by side with traditional tea shops.
It is also a destination that has the latest meetings infrastructure, with its newest convention centre opening in the Gyeonggi Province. Suwon Convention Center offers convention and exhibition space in an evolving MICE complex that will offer a space for exhibition, conferences, culture, art performances, shopping, and accommodation all in one place.
The iconic Songdo ConvensiA in Incheon is another meetings complex catering to large international meetings. Songdo ConvensiA offers five spacious floors of meeting rooms and event spaces fully equipped with advanced technology and was the first Asian convention center to receive a LEED certificate, recognition for leadership in energy and environmental design.
But Korea’s appeal lies beyond meetings facilities, with its eclectic culture the main drawcard for groups.
Seoul captures the imagination with its blend of high tech living and traditional culture that dates back thousands of years. K-Pop glam and Buddhist calm are all part of the package. This is a city that is connected, and not just with 5G wi-fi.
Connect to its food culture and enjoy the ubiquitous dish Bibimbap – mixed vegetables, meat and rice served in a heated stone bowl. Or get the appetite going with the sizzle coming of the marinated barbecue beef dish Bulgogi. Wash it down with the national alcoholic spirit – soju.
You can try and compete with the K-Pop hipsters of Changdong or dress up in the colourful traditional Hanbok costume and get free entry into the city’s five palaces – Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Gyeonghuigung, Deoksugung, and Changgyeonggung.
Explore Korea’s past at the Gwangju Cultural Foundation Traditional Culture Center or Bukchon Hanok Village where you can marvel at traditional houses and buildings that are more than 600 years old. A newer marvel is the eye-popping Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a mecca to consumerism.
Whether you stay in Seoul or head to the regions, you’ll find unexpected surprises. There is also a support program for international groups hosting meetings in Korea. It’s time to let Korea surprise you.