The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) are executing a comprehensive plan to transform the MICE industry, which is facing a crisis to the point where 80% of the events have been canceled since the COVID-19 pandemic. They plan on adopting the hybrid format, which is the new global industry standard. Hybrid format refers to parallel hosting of online and offline events through the use of cutting-edge ICT technology as opposed to the conventional MICE industry where majority of the events were held offline only.
In order to establish an environment that is optimized for the changed MICE market in the post-COVID-19 era, the SMG announced the 2021 Seoul MICE Industry Development Plan and its five major projects.
< Five major projects for 2021 for the development of Seoul’s MICE industry >
1. Support for hybrid-type international meetings through the use of cutting-edge contact-free technology
2. Support for 34 exhibitions in each of the five developmental stages
3. Support for disease control and prevention and insurance for safe offline events
4. Hosting a public contest to develop MICE content of the new normal
5. Training programs to foster professional conference organizers (PCO)
Firstly, online and offline events with 50 international participants or more will be able to get a subsidy of up to KRW 200 million for cutting-edge technology expenses incurred to facilitate online or hybrid-type international meetings, such as virtual meeting devices. For online meetings, the SMG is providing its 3D virtual meeting platform ‘Virtual Meeting Seoul’ for free as well as a subsidy of up to KRW 10 million for additional user fees, such as administration fees.
Secondly, the SMG is accelerating the transition to hybrid-type and contact-free meetings for exhibitions and expos. From those events in the planning stage to global-scale events, it is going to subsidize KRW 80 million each for a total of 34 select exhibitions in addition to professional consulting services in areas such as overseas marketing and IT technology.
Thirdly, the SMG is going to promote the image of “Safe K-MICE” through customized support for individual event halls, participants and hosts as safety is highlighted as the most important standard for choosing an event location.
Fourthly, the SMG is going to host the MICE Content Development Contest for Seoul-Type New Normal in order to encourage development of sustainable content and products, which can be used to proactively prepare for the changed MICE market since the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 10 companies will be selected and awarded with up to KRW 20 million.
Fifthly, the Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) Development project will be newly started to foster future hybrid MICE planners. Application for the participants will be open in April to May, and the training program will start in June to November.