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[Weekender] BEXCO broadening role in MICE industry

Busan Exhibition & Convention Center appears to be taking a vital step toward becoming a globally competitive business and events destination, offering innovative and integrated MICE facilities and events.

BEXCO, a landmark for business travelers, is nestled close to Haeundae beach and Centum City, the world’s largest department store. It is building up momentum to catch up with fast-growing MICE, an integrated concept connecting exhibitions and conventions with tourism and cultural content.

“BEXCO has geographical advantages as it is in the vicinity of Haeundae beach. It offers wonderful scenery and marine leisure where visitors can rest their minds after attending a conference,” Oh Sung-keun, president and CEO of BEXCO told The Korea Herald on Monday.
Oh Sung-keun, CEO and president of BEXCO (BEXCO)
Oh Sung-keun, CEO and president of BEXCO (BEXCO)

According to a recent report by the Union of International Associations, Busan made the top 10 conference venue list for the first time in 2013, ranking ninth in the world and fourth in Asia.

Among the 166 international conferences held in South Korea’s largest port city last year, almost a third of the events took place at BEXCO.

This year, BEXCO is expected to exceed records with two major international events ― Busan International Motor Show and ITU Plenipotentiary Conference hosted by the International Telecommunication Union, The United Nation’s specialized agency for ICTs.

Busan International Motor Show 2014, which came to an end on June 8, attracted a record 1.15 million visitors to the 11-day event largely due to the expansion of Exhibition Center 2 from 19,872 square meters, completed in 2012.

“With the expanded exhibition space, we found a unique color for Busan motor show this year, focusing on the intrinsic value of cars, not just shoddy events,” Oh said.

The CEO added that automobile brands demonstrated more enthusiasm for the event than ever by displaying new concept cars as enough space was allocated to each car maker.

BEXCO, which has been focusing on attracting existing conventions, is taking the initiative in incorporating its own sideline events to create synergy along with large-scale international events.

Oh said BEXCO is busy preparing to debut its own IT-related events ― the Health IT Show 2014 and the BIGdata World Congress ― on the sidelines of the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, which anticipates the attendance of 300,000 guests and is set to kick off Oct. 20.

“BEXCO will launch the two IT events in order to create sustainable event items that represent the convention center and the country that is well known as an IT powerhouse,” he said.

“When you think of Barcelona, the Mobile World Congress pops up in your mind. BEXCO needs a symbolic event people can come to trust.”

Established in 2001, BEXCO has built up a reputation as the venue of the APEC summit in 2005 and the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup group draw, but Oh said Busan should strengthen its entertainment segment to transform into a world-class MICE city.

“Busan city offers a variety of entertainment attractions such as Busan International Film Festival and Busan Cinema Center. But more events and landmarks need to be developed to lure more visitors,” Oh said.

“Making people choose Busan over other cities with sideline events, concerts and theme parks that run all year round will be the key to raise our competitiveness in the MICE industry.”

By Park Han-na (
Korea Herald Youtube