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[Herald Interview] Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon maps out city’s future in 2030 World Expo bid

At the Busan Expo, we will be able to present a vision for the future where humans and technologies coexist at the center of global society in the midst of the period of 'great transition.'

Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon (Busan City)
Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon (Busan City)
Newly-elected Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon is focused on highlighting the city’s strengths as it prepares a bid for the 2030 World Expo.

“Going forward, we have a lot of important tasks ahead of us. We will make sure to do our best to establish strategies to attract the event while working closely with the government,” Park said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

The host of the 2030 World Expo will be voted on by the 169 member states of the Bureau of International Expositions at the organization’s general assembly scheduled to be held in the second half of 2023.

In the interview, Park promised to “grow Busan into a mecca for the maritime, tourism, exhibition, and finance industries” through hosting the World Expo. 


Q: What is the proposed schedule for the 2030 Busan World Expo?

A: The 2030 Busan World Expo will be held for six months from May 1, 2030 to Oct. 31, 2030 at Busan’s North Port.

Approximately 50 million visitors from about 200 countries are expected to visit the city to attend the event.

Hosting the expo will generate many economic ripple effects, including 43 trillion won ($38 billion) worth of production, creating about 500,000 jobs, and sparking an added value of 18 trillion won.

Hosting the 2030 World Expo in Busan will promote the global maritime city to the whole world and contribute to a balanced national development through securing the power of growth of the southern region of Korea, centering around Busan, Ulsan and the nearby South Gyeongsang Province.

A few significant intangible effects, including enhancing Korea’s international prestige and improving Busan’s city brand, are expected as well. 


Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon (Busan City)
Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon (Busan City)
Q: Busan is the first city in Korea to attract a registered World Expo. What are the blueprints for the future of humanity and Korea that Busan wants to suggest to the world?

A: If the World Expo is held in Busan in 2030, Busan becomes the first city to host registered World Expo in Korea, and Korea becomes the seventh country to host all three mega world events (Olympics, World Cup, and World Expo).

The World Expo is a festival of people from all around the world where a future vision is suggested and new technologies are shared beyond race, region, generation, and gender.

At the Busan Expo, we will be able to present a vision for the future where humans and technologies coexist at the center of global society in the midst of the period of “great transition.“

As for the meaning of hosting the expo in Busan -- Busan is the city of the past, present, and future of Korea and a global city with geopolitical advantages. It is where the Eurasian continent and the Pacific Ocean meet with openness, inclusivity, and diversity.

Nationally, as a bridge between developed and developing countries, Korea will contribute to sustainable international development through providing a solid vision for a decarbonized economy and popularization of innovations of technologies like ICT. 


Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon (Busan City)
Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon (Busan City)
Q: In June, the bid will be submitted to BIE, which leaves two years until the selection of the venue in 2023. What’s your strategy for attracting the world expo?

A: It is important to draw support from 169 member states of BIE in order to attract the expo.

Starting in June, after the submission of the bid, overseas negotiations are allowed. We are planning on fully operating all possible networks that can be used for negotiations, including the government’s diplomatic network, cities that are in a cooperative relationship with Busan, and international organizations.

In order to attract large national business projects, public support should be the fundamental foundation. We should give the public the perception that it is not just an event of Busan but an expo of Korea.

By showing the public how Korea can develop, especially the lives of the future generation, and change through hosting the expo, we will make sure that people voluntarily support and participate in attracting the expo.

As the venue for the World Expo, Busan’s North Port is competitive compared to other venues. By reflecting the significance of urban regeneration and regional development through the expo, we will plan a distinct expo of our own and do our best to capture the votes of BIE and member states through embodiment of Busan’s own dynamic region and story. 


North Port Redevelopment Project (Busan City)
North Port Redevelopment Project (Busan City)
Q: You have been saying that hosting the 2030 Busan World Expo is more important as a megacity of Korea’s southeastern region. What do you mean by that?

A: The 2030 Busan World Expo is not just a one-time event but an opportunity to inform the world about Korea’s capabilities and secure new economic growth engines in the Yeongnam region, encompassing Busan, Ulsan, nearby areas of South Gyeongsang Provinces. The expo will greatly contribute to balanced national development.

Solidarity and cooperation for the fulfillment of a megacity in the southeastern region between the local governments of Busan, Ulsan, nearby areas of South Gyeongsang Provinces will be a stepping stone for the development of Yeongnam area. The 2030 Busan World Expo will be a starting point where the efforts would be known at home and abroad.

The 2030 Busan World Expo is not just a regional event but a mega event at the national level. It is a global event under international spotlight in which government representatives from 169 member states vote to select the venue, and where the nation’s hosting capacity and will is reflected.

We are expecting the expo to become a field where the support of the nation and regional capabilities will cooperate to secure the new economic growth engines, and the zeitgeist that the national economy and regional development create to manifest itself.

The three local governments of Busan, Ulsan, and Southern Gyeongsang provinces are currently working together to become a megacity.

First of all, the three governments are creating a promotional organization and discussing specific implementation plans.

We will make sure to lay a foundation for Busan to take a leap forward as a world-class city by becoming the gateway to Eurasia and the center of Korea’s economy through the completion of the four major communities of living, economy, culture, and administration in the southeastern area soon.

By Yoon Chae-won & Yoon Jung-hee (choenayoon@heraldcorp.com) (cgnhee@heraldcorp.com)
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