6 New Growth Engines
Seoul City Government has designated the convention industry as one of the key strategic industries to boost its future economy. The convention industry is one of the best ways to enhance the international image of a city. An international conference participant spends, on average, 2.4 times more than common tourists. Seoul is the world’s 9th busiest convention city, hosting 103 international conferences, according to the Union of International Association (UIA) report in 2005.
With the support of the city government, the Seoul Convention and Visitors Bureau (SCVB) have targeted making Seoul the prime global conference location. Accordingly, Seoul aims to be Asian’s 1st and the world’s 5th busiest convention city by 2010. To achieve this end, several universities have been operating professional training course conventions and, moreover, an International Convention High school was opened in 2005.
State of the art convention infrastructure is not in short supply: the Convention & Exhibition facilities in COEX, Seoul Trade Exhibition & Convention (SETEC) and Jamsil Olympic Center are adjacent to each other and function as the ‘Conventional Belt’ in southern Seoul. The Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX) is a brand new convention center located within 45 minutes from Seoul’s downtown and showcases heavy industry products.
Seoul dreams to be a city where all the people of the world can gather and have fun without difficulty. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has created a plan to strengthen the city’s tourism infrastructures to attract 10 million tourists per year. The key strategy is to turn places like the Hangang, Cheonggyecheon, Insa-dong and Namsan (Mt.) into vivid tourist places. Seoul is a well designed 600 year old city where there are numerous sites displaying its ancient heritage.
Seoul citizens and visitors can experience many revived old ceremonies and traditions. The 5 palaces are expected to attract the most tourists eager to experience how old Korean royal families lived.
Moreover, restoration of the old Seoul Seonggwak around Sungnyemun (South Gate) and the Namsan Bongsudae signal-fire ceremony are expected to provide more tourist attractions of an historical nature. In addition to the current tourism sources, Seoul city is preparing great attractions for its citizens and visitors.
The Hangang Renaissance Project will make Hangang a firm landmark. The Hangang Renaissance project is geared towards turning Hangang into a huge ecological park with various cultural and tourism spots. Concrete riverbanks will be replaced with green banks and natural wildlife habitats.
The Nodeulseom Cultural Complex, which aims to become a new landmark of Seoul, is currently being constructed on an island in the middle of Hangang. Having begun construction in June 2006, the Cultural Complex is being built in stages with completion expected in 2010. Moreover, with the cooperation of the central government, free tourism visas will be allocated to several countries, and tax reductions will also be provided to those motels that will be renovated into low cost hotels for foreigners.