Korean MICE Looks Past MERS Outbreak
The Korean MICE industry is increasingly optimistic that the MERS outbreak is now under control. There have been no new cases reported in Korea for almost three weeks.
Kimberley Kim, a marketing official with event specialist MCI in Seoul, commented, “We had a conference last month and a number of the people who were scheduled to attend called to cancel. It was an industry event and it went ahead in the end, but about 200 of the 900 delegates dropped out… But it is clear that the situation has improved and there have been no new cases for quite a long time now, so we believe the worst is over.”
There have been no official numbers released on the economic impact of the MERS outbreak, but the Korea Tourism Organisation reported that June tourism arrivals (including MICE participants) fell by over 40% to just over 750,000 – down from 1.27 million at the same time last year. Some markets were hit particularly hard. Arrivals from Taiwan and Hong Kong were both down roughly 75% and Singaporean visitor numbers fell by 62%.