COEX prepares for second annual C-Festival

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COEX prepares for second annual C-Festival

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COEX, the nation’s largest convention center, aims to become a cultural hub in Asia with its second round of festivals that began last year, which is expected to attract 1.5 million visitors from at home and abroad.

The five-day event, dubbed the C-Festival, which encompasses diverse cultural events, will run May 4-8 at COEX and World Trade Center Seoul, both clustered in the Samseong-dong area of Gangnam District, southern Seoul, COEX said Tuesday.

According to a Korea Industrial Development Institute report on the first C-festival, which was held last year as a 10-day event, a total of 2.35 million tourists visited, spending over 132.68 billion won ($117.13 million) during the entire event.

This year, though the number of days has been cut in half, COEX expects over 1.5 million people to take part in the event and have an economic impact worth 150 billion won.

COEX and 13 companies including SM Entertainment, Megabox, Grand Korea Leisure, and City Airport, Logistics and Travel of Korea hope to make Samseong-dong the center of Asia’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) industry through the C-Festival.

The industry has been designated by the government as a future growth engine since it covers diverse areas of culture and entertainment, and is related to Hallyu, or the Korean Wave.

“Last year’s event proved the possibility of the C-Festival becoming the Korean version of the Edinburgh International Festival,” COEX CEO Byun Bo-kyung said Tuesday. “We aim to foster the C-Festival as a flagship cultural product that represents Korea and stimulates the nation’s economy.”

For the event’s opening ceremony, ambassadors and diplomats from 40 different countries and the Korea Culture Diplomatic Mission will take part in the Global Costume Festival, where they will wear the traditional clothes of their home countries.

Popular celebrities including Psy, Winner, iKon and IOI will also hold a concert at the end of the festival to cater to tourists interested in K-pop.

In total, about 200 different programs will be run both in and outside of COEX, including a massive balloon parade for children on national Children’s Day and the Great Korean Beer Festival, which will show off different types of Korean craft beer.

“With a series of K-pop festivals along with different conventions prepared for global start-ups and artists, we expect the festival to be a bigger success than last year’s,” said COEX spokesman Oh Soo-young.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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