Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) will host its first virtual media familiarisation programme for the journalists specialising in business events on September 17 and 18, coinciding the activity with the UIA Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific, also to be held online for the associations community.
The virtual fam will comprise five ‘venues’, each representing the varied charms of Seoul – a conference hall where journalists can access educational sessions; a virtual Seoul promotional booth; a lounge area for network opportunities; workshop; and a virtual theatre to watch business events-related city showcases.
Jihyun Kim, director of Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB), a division of STO, told TTGmice in an interview that the virtual fam marks the start of the bureau’s online destination marketing efforts amid the ongoing travel, tourism and business events crisis.
“Although (face-to-face) business events are facing difficulties from many angles, as a convention bureau we need to think of various ways to keep stimulating and supporting the industry. We believe there are many opportunities for future business events, whether they are done online or onsite,” said Kim, adding that the desire for business gatherings remains and organisers will eventually find a way to meet despite the obstacles.
As such, SCB wants to prepare its stakeholders and local industry for the resumption of business events.
Building the UIA Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific into the virtual fam allows Seoul to demonstrate her ability to maintain the presence of such conferences during these unusual times, explained Kim.
Similarly, the other aspects of the programme will reflect an online translation of actual physical activities in the city.
Kim regards the Seoul promotional booth and virtual theatre as “differentiators” from other virtual business events platforms. The virtual theatre will feature 360° virtual reality (VR) videos displaying famous landmarks, unique venues and teambuilding activities from a first-person point-of-view to allow participants “to feel like they’re on a real tour,” shared Kim, adding that the complete programme would provide as comprehensive a support as a personal “MICE destination marketing agent” could.
SCB staff will supplement the online exposure with their presence, providing answers and information on the city and PLUS SEOUL support scheme to enquiring journalists.
Kim said there are precious business opportunities from taking the virtual route. One of them is the rare access to protected venues that are usually closed to the public, such as the 600-year-old Changdeokgung palace, via a VR site inspection. Other advantages include the ability to demonstrate Seoul’s advance information and communications technology, and the convenience of conducting certain engagement activities, such as a stamp tour and MICE membership card-making activity.