SEOUL, South Korea – Seoul has placed 9th in the recently-released 2013 Country and City Rankings statistics report compiled by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), bringing it into the ICCA top ten. The announcement comes as Seoul is in the midst of a major citywide expansion of its business events infrastructure. Seoul’s ranking moved up eight places with a total of 125 meetings held in 2013, which represents a 25% increase in meetings from the previous year.
With the upward curve in demand for meeting spaces in Seoul, two new highly anticipated meeting venues have been added to the city’s offerings this year – the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, which opened on March 21st, and the Floating Island complex, which opened on April 25th, ahead of a major new ‘MICE Zone’ currently being developed in the Gangnam district. These two new venues form Phase 1 of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s long-term ‘Master Plan’ for expanding the city’s business events offerings.
The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), which held the 28th edition of Seoul Fashion Week as its inaugural event, has been billed as the world’s largest freestanding asymmetrical building. The new unique venue was designed by Pritzker-winning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and offers a total floor space of 86,574m² and 5 meeting halls for a wide array of events. The Floating Island, meanwhile, is Korea’s first manmade island complex. Located on the Hangang River in central Seoul, the venue is comprised of 3 islets that include a convention hall, restaurants, water sports facilities, and a nearby floating stage – all with a total building space of 9,995m².
The key components of Phase 2, scheduled for completion in 2020, will see the creation of Seoul’s largest MICE multi-complex in the Yeongdong area, home to the Coex convention and exhibition center, with the additional space of 88,700m². Running all the way to the Jamsil Sports Complex, the multi-complex will also contain additional accommodation, shopping, and other facilities for cultural and entertainment events. As part of the redevelopment, the district’s sporting facilities – which previously hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics – will be upgraded, as will the land along the Hangang River. The massive undertaking has been made possible through agreements reached with Coex and other stakeholders such as, Korean Electric Power Corporation. Phase 3, expected to be completed in 2030, will see the redevelopment of Seoul’s Magok district, close by Gimpo International Airport.