The World Team Table Tennis Championship, opening at the Busan Exhibition & Convention Center – BEXCO – on March 22 this year, will be the first World Championships in the sport held in South Korea. Players from around the world will go head to head in what represents the last World Championships in its current format before the new, expanded World Championship Finals are introduced in 2021 in Houston. Busan's bid to host the event, against San Jose (USA) and Ekaterinburg (Russia), was backed by South Korean International Olympic Committee member Ryu Seung-min, winner of the men's singles gold medal at Athens 2004. The city’s successful bid was announced during the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Halmstad in May 2018.
BEXCO is also slated to host several large international association congresses this year including the 16th World Congress on Biosensors, and the 8th International Congress on Ceramics, with World Foundry Congress and World Congress of the Intl Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations – FIATA – held almost concurrently in October.
In addition to these international conventions, BEXCO’s calendar is busy with many national events – both trade and consumer - including Drone Show Korea, Kenny G World Tour Valentine’s Concert and the 2020 Comic World Busan, among many others.
In 2021, BEXCO will play host to “biggies” which include the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, (3,000 pax), in August, and the 23rd Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (1,860 pax). The Center has secured world congresses up to 2026 with the 23rd World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control, (3,250 pax) scheduled from 20-25 Aug 2026.
Last year, BEXCO hosted the Korea-ASEAN Special Summit marking the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-ROK dialogues. (ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, an official name of South Korea). According to Xinhua news agency, ASEAN is South Korea's second-biggest trading partner, with trade between the two sides reaching about USD 160 billion in 2018. Another high-profile international congress which took place in BEXCO was the World Diabetes General Assembly in December 2019. At IDF 2019, more than 135 companies, including multinational pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, participated as exhibitors at 310 booths and drawing about 15,000 visitors.
In another development, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has designated Busan as the country’s International Tourism City because of the city’s potential as a tourism hub for international visitors. To leverage on this honour and opportunity, BEXCO’s CEO Mr Tai-Sik Lee said BEXCO will work closely with Busan Tourism Organization (BTO) and link its business events with local tourism programmes. Mr Lee added: “Business events in synergy with tourism will not only bring direct delegate expenditure and longer stays for pre or post event touring; but also bring other ‘legacy’ impacts such as knowledge exchange, enhanced research collaboration, investment and trade, and global networking. The city of Busan and its communities will benefit from MICE. BEXCO will step up our on-site efforts to optimize such business events for Busan specifically, and for South Korea.”
To this end, BEXCO and its MICE partners have been leveraging on their past track record, partnering up with Korean local host committees and local champions, to bid for these future international conventions or other conventions in similar fields.
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