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[2014] Mayor’s Speech

  • Proposal for Seoul As a Model of Tourism and Entertainment

  • [2014] Mayor’s Speech SMG 1227

    Welcoming Speech of 2014 SIBAC Conference

    Date October 31st, 2014 | Venue Multi-purpose Auditorium, Seoul City Hall

    Thank you, Jeffrey. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Chairman Barton, Vice Chairman Smith, Koga, and Yang, distinguished commissioners and advisors of Seoul International Business Advisory Council, welcome to the 2014 SIBAC annual conference.

    I would like to introduce you to some new faces today. Antoine Frerot of Veolia, Lubna Olayan of Olayan Financing Company, on behalf of Seoul citizens, welcome and thank you for joining SIBAC.

    I am happy to see some familiar faces: Chris, Rudy, Jean-Louis, Roland, Marco, Nick, Alex, and Bill. It is also nice to see some of you who have come back after a long time, like Peter and Martin. I also thank the five advisors for your dedicated support for SIBAC, Ron, Jeffrey, Chairman Kim Kihwan, Keith, and Roland. Thank you for preparing this important event again this year.

    We have a lot of special guests today. Ambassador Jerome Pasquier of France, thank you for joining us. Chairman Park Nea Hak of Seoul Metropolitan Council, thank you. Foreign public officials attending education or training programs through Seoul Metropolitan Government and University of Seoul, thank you very much.

    I want to look back at the conference last year. We exchanged a lot of opinions regarding how make Seoul a model of the tourism and entertainment industry. You made excellent suggestions: first, creating a unique cultural identity, second, hosting MICE events related to women and IT, third, boosting medical tourism, fourth, establishing MICE facilities of the Korean Wave using the creativity of the private sector, fifth, forming a creative value proposition for the fashion industry, and sixth, implementing ecological restoration. The conference finished with special presentations on big data and the ageing society: Dominic presented possibilities for making cities more efficient and smarter using big data and geospatial data; Jose diagnosed Korea’s current status as an ageing society. Inspired by those two presentations, we chose the theme of this years’ conference to be “Seoul’s Smart City Solution: Ageing Population and Sustainable Economic Growth.”

    For the last year, our staff has been making ceaseless efforts to turn your suggestions into long-term and short-term policies. Let me tell you about some of the achievements you have have made.

    In order to develop tourist attractions unique to Seoul, we put a lot of hard work into the restoration of Hanyang Doseong (the Fortress Wall of Seoul), which is one of Seoul’s most valuable treasures. Since its construction in 1396, the fortress accounted for a large part of citizens’ life in the Joseon Dynasty. However, much of it was lost in the process of modernization. In 2012, a task force was organized to restore the fortress and enlist it as a tentative UNESCO world cultural heritage site. To preserve the fortress surroundings, I moved out of the official residence after last year’s SIBAC conference.

    Currently, 70% of Hanyang Doseong has been restored. By 2015, the fortress will be presented to citizens in its complete and beautiful appearance. I believe that Hanyang Doseong will strengthen Seoul citizens’ love for the rich history and culture of Seoul.

    In addition to our effort to preserve our precious cultural heritage, in March this year, the new modern landmark DDP was opened. The futuristic structure was designed by the visionary architect Zaha Hadid. In the two months after its opening, over two million people visited the building, and it is quickly establishing itself as our citizens’ favorite cultural space.

    Opened last month, the Floating Island is gaining attention as a tourist attraction of the Han River. Despite initial challenges, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will support this ambitious floating structure so that it can play a key role in Seoul’s green-ecology network, established as a series of water leisure facilities. It is safe to say that Seoul is well on its way to establishing its own unique identity, covering all of the past, the present, and the future.

    Some of the key words we talked about last year were “green & blue”, “ecological tourism”, and “sustainability.” We also talked about establishing MICE facilities through an international design competition. Based on these suggestions, we planned to transform the Mapo Oil Reserve Base into an environment-friendly cultural complex, and we held an international design contest under the theme of “environment and regeneration.” 95 submissions were received from 227 architects in 16 countries all around the world, and the winner was announced on August 25th. Based on the winning design, the Mapo Oil Reserve Base will go through a broad-scale regeneration to be reborn as a hub of culture and nature linking the nearby World Cup Stadium and World Cup Park by the end of 2016.

    One of the projects we focused on last year was turning Seoul into a global MICE city, a city leading MICE especially in the IT area. This year, we held influential events such as IWWW, Seoul Digital Forum, and Smart Cloud Show.

    We also hosted major conventions related to women such as the Korea International Women’s Invention Exposition and the Federation of Asia-Pacific Women’s Associations 21st Convention & International Symposium. For the next several years, over 30 IT conferences will be held in Seoul, and next year will be a very busy year, as we are hosting the world-renowned fashion fair Bread and Butter, the International City Lighting Federation Conference, and the ICLEI International Conference. Therefore, if you are preparing for international conferences or corporate events, remember the city optimal MICE city Seoul, and like the BASF, make the wise choice of choosing us.

    I heard some happy news that Google recently recognized Gangnam Style. Google announced that it would establish the fourth start-up hub in the world, Campus Seoul, in Gangnam next year. This news is even more delightful because the region is adjacent to the tentative Yeongdong MICE complex announced by Seoul earlier this year. In addition, the campus is expected to create synergy with the Seoul Government’s projects to promote creativity and entrepreneurship in cooperation with outstanding universities in Seoul.

    I believe Google’s expansion to Korea will form a solid ecology that encourages technology innovation and business incubation to attract more business tourists to Seoul.

    We also strived to amplify Seoul’s capability as a capital of fashion. “Seoul 10 Soul,” where the 10 most promising fashion designers in Seoul are selected every year, has made a lot of achievements at home and abroad. Through cooperation with the National Chamber for Italian Fashion, the designers had the privilege to appear on the Grand Finale stage of Milano Men’s Fashion Week for the first time as Korean designers. Seoul Fashion Week and Generation Next gained a greater appeal compared to last year, proving the great potential of the promising designers. I believe you will be able to truly assess the potential of Seoul, which is emerging as the fashion capital of Asia, through Bread and Butter next year.

    Marjorie said in the last conference that we should spread the Korean Wave beyond Asia to the West. I have some good news on that front as well. “My Love from the Star,” which recently sparked a major craze for Korean TV dramas, will be remade by ABC in the US. I will not tell you the synopsis, but what impressed me in the drama was the mingling of modern-day Seoul with Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty. I hope the show, which has become an incredible hit in Korea and China, will contribute to promoting Seoul and Korea to many Americans.

    For the sake of time, I cannot explain all the projects we have implemented, but I hope you all feel as though you have hugely contributed to Seoul’s growth into a model of tourism and entertainment over the last year through my brief summary. As most of your suggestions will be applied to our long-term plans, I ask you to keep an eye on the achievements of Seoul in the future. Thank you again for the great advice you have shared, and will share with Seoul. I will listen attentively to you today.