The Seoul Convention Bureau is adopting a cautious pace as it resumed onsite business events in June 2020, starting with exhibitions and congresses.
The Coex Convention & Exhibition Center began to have an uptick of large-scaled exhibitions on their calendar from the same month, and is expecting about eight international exhibitions and conventions from July to December this year.
Other convention centres in Seoul, such as SETEC, aT Center and Sejong University Conference Center also started holding events under thorough quarantine measures around the same time.
The Korea Landscape and Garden Expo 2020 held from 3-6 June was the first exhibition in three months since the industry came to a standstill, followed by the Seoul International Dental Exhibition and Scientific Congress 2020 (SIDEX 2020).
SIDEX 2020 was the first large-scale event that had 4,860 attendees in two days, 6-7 June. Carrying out the event stirred some concerns among the stakeholders with regards to safety measures for COVID-19, but the organising body of the SIDEX 2020 reported a spotless success in providing the quarantine measures – keeping the attendees safe and disinfecting the venues and equipment regularly. The success led to a notification on the official website two weeks later announcing that there were no infected cases occurred from the event or anyone in relation.
The Central Disease Control Headquarters and the Central Disaster Management Headquarters released the Disinfection Guidelines to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 at Public and Multi-purpose Facilities on 2 April 2020, and convention centres added on their own procedures and measures.
Each organiser also goes through the necessary measures themselves and announces specific measures that put into consideration the nature of their events. For example, plastic gloves were given on top of personal protection equipment (PPE) at the Seoul International Wines & Spirits Expo 2020, considering the high touchpoints that would take place.
More options were also added to the PLUS SEOUL support programme, which includes Personal Hygiene Kit support, Rentals of Thermal Imaging Cameras, Venue Disinfecting Services on the revised version.
The bureau says that attendees have become used to practising the safety measures. At the 10th Korea Smart Device Trade Show 2020 (KITAS) held from 23-25 July, the event welcomed 19,862 people in three days. KITAS was one of seven international events that happened at COEX in July.
While the number of business events in the near future will not be how it used to be pre-COVID, the bureau is keeping its place on the top for recovery and on the bottom for severity, according to the Global COVID-19 Index. The MICE industry of Seoul is showing an increase in catching up like a tortoise in the classic story – slow but steady wins the race, the race with invisible but not invincible.