Report reveals secret to Seoul G20’s success
The reasons behind the smooth execution of the major event that brought together key global leaders last November in the South Korean capital have been unveiled recently in a special report.
The G20 summit took place in Seoul convention centre COEX with sustainability and security high on the organising agenda. According to a recent report by the venue, the careful planning of the event reflected the research carried out and measures taken to avoid the common mishaps that occur at other such summits.
Prior to and during the conference, concerted efforts by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Organisation also helped more than 20,000 G20-related visitors further enjoy their experience in the Korean capital.
Safe and sound
The Seoul G20 report reveals that preparation for the event began almost a year in advance with a team of 12 COEX employees assigned to work exclusively on summit preparations. They were aided by a task force of more than 40 people.
A plenary summit hall, a large leader’s lounge and several 33-seat halls were built to accommodate the complex security, translation and entry and exit requirements for the attending world leaders. To meet every leader’s security needs, COEX paid meticulous attention to detail and even renovated the bathrooms in COEX’s Hall D to meet safety concerns. A large press centre and lounge were also constructed and hosted by COEX to serve more than 4,500 reporters and broadcasters from around the world covering the event around the clock.
G20 vision: COEX Seoul gets ready for the world leaders
Security and safety concerns meant much of COEX’s preparations were behind-the-scenes. For example, heads of state and other leaders actually entered COEX without any public exposure by means of restricted, underground parking lots. After exiting their respective vehicles, VIPs were able to safely access exhibition halls via loading docks that the venue’s G20 report says were “beautifully renovated” to accommodate red carpets and colourful Korean gardens to welcome the world leaders.
During the week of the summit, the Korea national government dispatched 50,000 members of the police force from around the nation to patrol hotels, roadways, and subway stations, reveals the report. However, the security measure that received most of the press attention was the three lines of fencing erected to carefully monitor foot traffic around the summit venue. Foot traffic not associated with the event or businesses inside was not permitted within the second fence, and the 2-metre high inner fence was composed of bulletproof glass at its apex.
In anticipation of the 20,000 international visitors to Seoul in and around the G20 period, the city of Seoul increased the number of special foreigner taxis to 500 early in 2010, and 15 electric buses were operated in the vicinity of the event. On both days of the summit, 12 and 14-lane roads around COEX were partially or completely closed, while Samseong Subway Station (which services COEX Mall) was also shut down.
What’s more, in excess of 5,000 volunteers, of whom most spoke at least one foreign language, assisted visitors at the city’s major subway stations and 165 major bus stops, according to the report. Special support centres were made available in the city’s top 75 hotels, where delegates and other officials were expected to stay. The facilities offered special tourism programmes to help the visitors enjoy Seoul’s various tourism options during their visit. The city of Seoul also expanded the Dasan Call Centre by creating a foreign-language department. The call centre is a free general information hotline originally set up for Korean citizens in 2007.
The schedule for the G20 Seoul Summit provided little downtime for the many press, politicians and other business tourists in Seoul during the week in which it was held. To accommodate their schedules, the Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) also launched a series of special familiarisation tours before and during the event that were specifically designed for these busy travellers. The SCB also distributed a booklet entitled ‘Seoul G20: the Capital’s Greatest 20 Experiences’, complete with a CD of attractive Seoul photos to help travellers experience as much of the city as they possibly could during their stay in the capital.
With regards to the SCB’s services during the G20 Seoul Summit, the organisation’s vice-president, Maureen O’Crowley, said: “The convening of a G20 Summit here in Seoul was a source of great pride for all of Korea and required tremendous teamwork to ensure its success. The Seoul Tourism Organisation proudly contributed to those efforts by extending a warm welcome to our summit visitors and creating tours to give them a glimpse of the vibrant Korean capital and a chance to experience Korean hospitality during their stay.”
Click here for more on COEX’s G20 Seoul Summit report.