Interview on the 7th Anniversary of Goyang Destination Week - Peter Lee, Director General of the GoyangCVB
MICE stories that you can only hear here
“GDW is a sustainable venue for sharing global MICE knowledge”
Launched in 2017 to promote “the MICE City Goyang”
Steady growth and support as much as we have been incessantly grew
Cleared out the chaos in the MICE market
The young generation also embraces MICE... “Youth Challenge” in the spotlight
“It’s great if GDW can be leveraged as ‘the opportunity of personalization!’”
Since its debut as a three-day international conference on MICE destinations in 2017, Goyang Destination Week (GDW) has experienced remarkable annual growth thanks to the overwhelming interest and support of domestic and international MICE professionals and industry officials. Held in August this year, GDW 2023 was the seventh iteration of the event and extended its duration to five days, with the number of participants nearly quintupled from 170 in 2017 to 781 this year. In particular, the number of international participants increased sevenfold from 2017, establishing GDW as an internationally recognized event in a short period.
We asked Director Peter Lee, the Director General of the Goyang Convention & Visitors Bureau, to share the secrets of GDW’s growth. He planned GDW upon the Bureau’s creation in 2016 and has played a vital role in improving non-stop for the past seven years despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
△ Peter Lee,the Director General of the GoyangCVB. This year marks the 7th anniversary of GDW.
-Congratulations on the 7th anniversary of GDW. We could probably safely call it Korea’s leading MICE destination event.
“GDW has three clear goals: first, to promote “Goyang as the MICE city” at home and abroad; second, to serve as a venue to share knowledge and expand the network in which domestic MICE speakers and Goyang MICE industry workers strengthen their competitiveness; and third, to engage with and encourage the participation of citizens. The biggest achievement is that GDW has continued on for seven years without a break; I think GDW has definitely established itself in the MICE field. If I had to pick an achievement, it would be that it now has the scale of a truly international convention, and the number of participants, both domestic and foreign, has also reached the standards. It is also encouraging that foreigners take over 20% of the total participants.”
-Thinking back to the early days of GDW, it often used the term “Global Second-tier City” to describe Goyang. Maybe there was a hidden strategy behind GDW’s debut in this context.
“Personally, I still firmly believe that Goyang should be developed as a MICE destination as a ”Global Second-tier City.“ I think it should at least be comparable to global second-tier cities, in other words, second-tier cities in MICE-developed countries and first-tier cities in developing countries. Goyang should establish international standards to match with a competitive supply chain. That was my goal when I started GDW, and it remains unchanged.”
-That makes us wonder how you came up with the concept of the “Week.”
“Goyang Convention & Visitors Bureau was established at the end of 2016. At that time, when people in Korea and abroad thought of Goyang, they didn’t know about MICE but knew KINTEX, and they knew Ilsan but not Goyang. So I remember thinking that we should make Goyang known as a MICE destination, at least to the people in the MICE industry. When we tried to hold GDW in such a situation, we didn’t have enough awareness and budget, so we started by mobilizing our members’ individual connections to invite global speakers in the MICE field. The “Week” event is more of a “platform” than a singular event; we have completed the week with five events over five days this year. A platform should take a collaborative approach to maximize the impact of different events simultaneously. For example, while IDCF, GDW’s main conference, is a standalone event, all other events are held in collaboration with domestic and international MICE organizations. The theme can vary from year to year and can be strategically modified depending on the partners. What is essential is to increase the impact of GDW through collaboration and co-organization. “
-This year’s overall theme was “The Return of MICE.” Is this a reflection of the expectation that in-person meetings will be revitalized in the endemic era after a long pandemic?
“It’s not simply that, as certain aspects of MICE were expected during the pandemic. The prediction that metaverse and AR-VR will take hold in Korea could be one example. The government also strongly anticipated the digital transformation in the MICE industry. However, at the beginning of the endemic era, the adoption rate of digital meetings and virtual reality was rather slow both at home and abroad, and the existing offline demand is strongly returning to the past level. The domestic MICE market was in turmoil, especially. I thought it was necessary to review this, so I chose the theme of this year’s GDW as ”The Return of MICE.“ Session 1 at IDCF dealt with human resources issues in the MICE industry, and I think it was probably the first time in Korea that we exchanged information and discussed this topic with overseas figures. We’re at a time when the demand for offline in-person meetings is recovering quickly, so the intention was also to accurately look into what has changed from before the pandemic, such as the legacy issues that are being newly defined during the endemic and the different trends of associations and groups.”
-The attraction and retention of young people into the MICE industry is being dealt with as a global issue. That seems to be why GDW 2023’s 2nd Asia-Pacific Business Events Youth Challenge garnered more attention than before.
“As a global MICE destination, Goyang City has strived to spark youth’s interest in the MICE sector. To make them aware of the realities of the MICE industry and explore alternatives, I think it’s essential to engage the younger generation in various MICE events. It’s important to bring them deeper into the “planning process” - not just to watch, but to build their capacity to plan and organize their own events and to practice what they are imagining. This is what we’re trying to do with the Youth Challenge, the “Contest.” That’s why we have involved the Bureau’s supporters, students from MICE-related schools, and other global organizations and even provided accommodation at the KINTEX campsite. I hope this kind of engagement and networking helps young people find their positions in the MICE industry. I’d like to help them create their own business models in the new MICE market. “
△Peter Lee (photo), the Director General of the Goyang Convention & Visitors Bureau
-What would be your overall evaluation of this year's GDW?
"I feel like the event is becoming more stable every year, which means we're establishing the operational foundation. We had simultaneous sessions as opposed to single sessions in the years before, and I heard a lot of positive comments from participants that they liked that they weren't crowded in one place and could network more easily. I would say that we're now stable and relaxed enough to consider the quality of the event. As for more specifics regarding content, we plan to analyze the survey closely and incorporate the feedback into the next event."
-Finally, can you share a few words with the newsletter readers?
“At the end of the day, GDW is made possible by your interest and participation. But it shouldn’t end with your participation; you have to “personalize” GDW to make it meaningful, whether it’s networking among the participants or between participants and speakers, applying the learnings to your own business events, or creating momentum to pioneer new markets. I hope you can create your own value through GDW. Goyang City and the Bureau will always bring you better content if you use GDW as an opportunity to personalize the event for yourself for both participants and professionals in the domestic and international MICE industry. Please feel free to fully leverage GDW as much as you want!”