Come to Incheon for MICE and Tourism
- A Candid Talk about the MICE Industry
It has been five years since Paradise City, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation, opened in Incheon for the first time. The 'integrated resort' has become a critical value worldwide in the MICE industry. It represents the value of coexistence in achieving a common goal with the local community. We talked with Choi Jong-hwan, CEO of Paradise SEGA SAMMY, to take a deeper look at the Incheon MICE industry.
Interviewee. Choi Jong-hwan (CEO of Paradise SEGA SAMMY)
#1 Birth of the Only Resort in the World
Q.' Paradise City,' which opened in 2017, chose Yeongjongdo Island in Incheon. We are curious about the story leading up to the opening.
A. Paradise City was developed as a distinguished Korean-style integrated resort incorporating the Korean Wave. In the beginning, when we constructed it, we did not have much infrastructure around it. However, we believe that Yeongjongdo Island will be advantageous in attracting foreign tourists because it has an international airport and can be reached within four hours by plane from major cities in Northeast Asia, such as Shanghai, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. In particular, we believe that the 'Art-tainment' resort, which combines magnificent architecture, high-quality interiors, and artwork, will become a 'K-Style destination' where people can enjoy cultural tours all at once. With these expectations, Paradise City opened in April 2017, starting with a five-star hotel, casino, and convention facilities.
#2 Leading the Growth of MICE and Tourism in Korea
Q. Paradise City has raised the level of MICE & tourism in Korea as 'the first integrated resort in Northeast Asia.' What are the examples where Paradise City was related to MICE?
A. Previously, MICE events started and ended in a banquet hall. Paradise City is different. It can hold events in various spaces. The 'Plaza' becomes a banquet hall and concert hall, and 'Chroma,' the largest club in Northeast Asia, becomes the event venue. In addition, the entire facilities of the boutique hotel 'Art Paradiso' and the music lounge bar 'Rubik' can be rented out, while the theme park 'Wonder Box' and the spa 'Cimer' allow participants to enjoy their leisure time.
As such, Paradise City continuously holds increasingly many domestic and foreign events due to the endless variety of entertainment content elements. It is a global MICE space for corporate APAC meetings, new car launches, VIP events, awards ceremonies, symposiums, and conferences.
#3 The Strength That Made Paradise
Q. Could you tell us about the achievements of Paradise City over the past six years and the secret behind them?
A. Paradise City is the first integrated resort in Northeast Asia that provides a differentiated hotel vacation experience. In the first year only, after opening in 2017, it drew attention by marking about 212.1 billion won in total sales. In 2019, it achieved the best performance by recording 486.7 billion won in total sales and 2.5 million customers. Also, since 2020, we have been listed in the world-renowned Forbes Travel Guide.
Unrivaled infrastructure and differentiated content were the secret behind quantitative and qualitative growth. In addition to the hotel, we have various ancillary facilities such as a spa, theme park, cultural space, and a hall that can accommodate 1,600 people for international conferences and corporate events. The 3,000 pieces of artwork exhibited throughout the resort and the fact that 'art spaces' complete the 'art-tainment spaces' that combine rest and art form another competitive edge of Paradise City.
#4 Trends in MICE and Tourism Markets
Q. What changes does the MICE & tourism market face today? What is Paradise City's strategy in response to the changes?
A. This year, we expect 'slowflation,' the combination of slow economic growth and high prices, will continue. Although we expect to engage in competitive IR soon and that the competition in the hospitality business will intensify, I think it can paradoxically be an opportunity for market expansion.
Paradise City provides a new customer experience to solidify its status as an integrated resort. For that, we plan to continuously strengthen 'K-Culture' content. In addition, we will continue our investment for growth. In particular, we plan to put spurs to the expansion of 'wellness' content, which has become an essential keyword in the hospitality industry.
#5 The Future Direction for Incheon and the Resort
Q. What do you wish from Incheon for the revitalization of the MICE & tourism industry?
A. Recently, many Asian countries are accelerating the development of integrated resorts. Competition in attracting tourists is expected to intensify among countries such as Singapore, the Philippines, and Macau, which are already operating integrated resorts, and Japan and Taiwan, which are accelerating resort development and expansion.
Under this circumstance, we hope Incheon will complete the integrated resort cluster by completing the planned projects as quickly as possible and gaining an edge in the competition between countries. In particular, further expanding the integrated resort industry fostering policy is necessary to build infrastructure and increase synergy by promoting cooperative marketing.
The demand for tourism and MICE is expected to increase tremendously due to the easing of COVID-19 in line with the recent rise in the values of Korean culture. Paradise City will actively contribute to revitalizing the tourism and MICE industry accordingly.
#6 Future to Come
Q. We are curious about the vision of Paradise City for the future.
A. Domestic and foreign tourism demand are increasing as the world enters the end of the endemic era in earnest. It is a great opportunity. With the reopening of the airway in the second half of last year, Paradise City succeeded in returning to profit and entered a recovery phase. This year, Paradise City plans to focus on Japan, one of its core markets, and strengthen local marketing. In addition, as China's reopening is imminent, we expect that our performance will improve further.
If you look a little further, Paradise has the vision of 'Destination Creator.' We plan to establish ourselves as a 'K-Style Destination' that continuously provides new experiences to customers to impress them based on 50 years of capabilities and know-how for cultural tourism.