▲ The International Convention Center Jeju, circular building on the right, will soon be joined by a multi-purpose hotel complex on the Jeu waterfront. Photo courtesy ICC Jeju
The International Convention Center in Jungmun Resort has beome an important global player in hosting conventions and exhibitions, and the staff is rolling out the red carpet for the upcoming ASEAN special summit in June.
In fact, they are installing an entirely new carpet for the event, which will see world leaders from 11 Asian countries, and more than 3,000 government and business leaders visit Jeju.
The five year old ICC is undergoing an 8.2 billion won renovation which includes refurbishing many of the meeting rooms, a complete makeover of the popular OceanView coffeeshop, updates to the infrastructure, including free wifi access throughout the facility, and gardening and landscaping. It is expected to be completed by May 12, in time for the dust to settle before the conference.
Oh, Yu-Kyung, manager of the Strategic and Planning Dept., said the renovations would make the convention center “more luxurious.” She pointed out that the ASEAN conference will turn the eyes of Asia toward Jeju, which will have long range benefits to the island.
Center plays host to the world While the ASEAN meeting is a major event, the ICC is no stranger to hosting large scale events. In its first five years it hosted nearly 900 meetings, with more than 800,000 participants and event-goers. The number of events attracting international participants has grown steadily, and is growth is projected to continue. Oh said it’s too soon to tell what effect the global economic conditions might have on convention bookings and attendance, but that they plan on remaining competitive by offering the best value for the money.
Past international meetings include the Eighth Special Session of the Governing Council and Fifth Global Ministerial Environment Forum of the UNEP, in March of 2004, which drew 6,300 participants; the McDonald’s China Manager Operations Convention in September of 2006, with 1,100 participants, and the 38th World Scout Conference in June of 2008, with 2,000 participants.
In addition to the ASEAN meeting, big conventions coming up this year include the Delphic Games, the Korean Society of Pathologists and the Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress.
Even without the remodeling, the ICC rates highly with convention attendees. In a survey conducted by the Korean Tourism Organization of meeting rooms, communication facilities, conference equipment and safety, the ICC consistently scored higher than facilities in Seoul, Busan and Daegu. It also rated highest in overall participant satisfaction.
New ICC president, hotel Other changes underway at the ICC are a new president and a five star hotel going up next door. The new president is a familiar face in Seogwipo, former city mayor Kim, Hyung-soo. Kim brings to the job a long history of work in tourism in Jeju. He began public service in 1969 and has served as director of the Tourism Development and Investment Promotion departments, and the Bureau of Free International City and Tourism. He has also been a planning and management office and press division officer.
Hotel going up next to ICC promises convenience, comfort Next door to the convention center, work is progressing on the 600-room “anchor” hotel and condominium, Casa del Agua Hotel and Resort Residences. It will be the closest accommodation for convention attendees and will include 290 hotel rooms and 183 residences spread over 12 floors.
According to the provincial government, it is meant to be a “cozy and comfortable mid-low priced facility for the convention participants as an alternative to high-end facilities currently present in Jungmun tourist complex.” It will also include a shopping mall and underground arcade. It was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta and is due for completion by the end of the year.
Public cultural events at ICC The ICC also hosts major cultural events in Tamna Hall, with theater-style seats. The multi-purpose room is also flexible, and the stage can be lowered into the floor to open up a sport arena-type area.
In November the facility will be turned into a boxing arena for the 47th Annual Convention of the World Boxing Council and its boxing title match. In a letter to WBC members, organization president Jose Sulaiman said, “Jeju Island is a delightful blend of cultures and natural wonders; Jeju, an island of fantasy, does not unveil its beauty until you touch it.” The boxing convention is expected to bring 1,000 participants, as well as a capacity crowd of spectators for the main event.
Other events on tap for this year at the ICC include a Korean classical music concert with Kim, Young-jim in July; an exhibition of “museum made of sweets” in July-August; “Soul Groove,” a concert by Kim, Gun Mo July 31 and Aug. 1; and two concerts with performer Lee, Moon-se, Dec. 5 and 6.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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