October 9, 2023
SEOUL – With less than two months remaining before the final vote to decide the host city of the 2030 World Expo, the South Korean government, along with private and civic organizations, is making an last push to secure the global event for the city of Busan.
During the United Nation’s General Assembly last month, President Yoon Suk Yeol met over 30 leaders around the world to ask for their support in the upcoming final vote, at a summit room filled with brochures and hangers written “Busan Is Ready.”
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Park Jin also flew to Paris to call for the Bureau International des Expositions’ continued advice on South Korea’s effort to host the World Expo in Busan. He met BIE Secretary General Dimitri S. Kirkentzes on Sept. 28, local time, and had a luncheon with seven ambassadors from the member countries of the BIE on the next day. At a round table with international political experts held at the French Institute of International Relations, Park also introduced the Korean government’s vision to contribute to world freedom, peace and prosperity and promoted the Busan Expo.
Major conglomerates and business tycoons in South Korea are also supporting the effort to host the international event. SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who is also the chairman of the private attraction committee for the Busan Expo bid, is the most active among them. Chey also co-chairs the 2030 Busan Expo bid committee along with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
Starting Wednesday, Chey kicked off a tour of Asia to seek support for the Busan Expo and will attend the Busan Expo Symposium in Paris next week. The Busan Expo Symposium is an event held by the South Korean government and the Busan Metropolitan Government, attended by ambassadors, working-level officials, and foreign journalists from BIE member countries, to promote Busan’s selling points.
On Oct. 15, Chey will attend the K-pop concert “M Countdown in France” hosted by CJ Group. The concert will be held at Paris La Defense Arena, the largest concert hall in Europe.
From Oct. 16 to 18, SK Group will hold a CEO seminar — one of the biggest annual events of the company to build future business strategy — in Paris, France. SK is holding a CEO seminar overseas for the first time in 14 years since 2009. CEOs of SK Group affiliates, including Chairman Chey, plan to meet with ambassadors to Paris from BIE member countries.
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong also toured local business sites through overseas business trips during the Chuseok holiday. Lee has reportedly utilized his global personal connections to promote the city of Busan and urge support for the expo bid during the trip. Lee has been actively participating in the Busan expo promotion since last year. Lee met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in June 2022, and with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in September of the same year, to ask for support.
From October to the end of November, LG Group will focus its support activities in major European cities. From early October, Busan Expo advertisements will be shown on electronic boards in downtown Paris, and from late October, banners promoting Busan will be attached to about 2,000 city buses in the French capital. Since June last year, LG has been displaying promotional videos for Busan at Times Square, New York and Piccadilly Square in London.
The Busan Metropolitan Government is holding a campaign to win the hearts of locals in Paris, where the final vote will be held.
Flags with the Busan expo mascot will be attached to 50 public eco-friendly electric bikes used by locals. As electric bikes run close to passers-by and pass through both major roads and alleys, it is expected to effectively catch the eyes of local residents. The recent policy of vehicle restrictions in Paris is expected to increase the use of bikes, which will double the effect of the campaign. Advertisement banners will also be attached to five local tourist vehicles.
Online campaign through social media will effectively draw attention of the young people. 500 students, mainly from college students who are interested in Korean culture and who attends Korean language schools, will be recruited to share information about Busan and its charms online.
The venue for the 2030 World Expo will be decided by a final vote of member states at the general meeting of the BIE, which is scheduled to be held in Paris, France, on Nov. 28.