Asia is once again in the limelight: with the next major country defining initiative set to take place in Yeosu South Korea in 2012. It is dedicated to the health of the planet and the well-being of humanity, the theme of the expo "the Living Ocean and Coast" will raise people's awareness about the values of oceans and the critical environmental issues to suggest a new ocean vision for the future generation.
The following are excerpts from an interview with Kang Dong-suk, chairman of the organizing committee for Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea
Q. Please give us an outline of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea and explain expected outcomes.
A: Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, which is scheduled to be held in Shinhang district (Sujeong-dong and a part of Deokchung-dong in Yeosu) for 93 days from May 12 of 2012 to August 12 of 2012, will serve as a great opportunity to showcase Korea's ongoing ascent to the ranks of developed nations. While the Olympics and the World Cup last only for 15 days and a month respectively, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea will be open for over three months and draw large-scale participation from over 100 nations. Thus, it is hard to think of any other ways to better improve a nation's brand image. In addition, under the theme of "the Living Ocean and Coast", Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea will improve public awareness of humankind's frontier "the ocean" and significantly contribute to projecting Yeosu and Korea's southern coast as a world-class hub of marine leisure sports.
Q. Could you elaborate on the ongoing preparatory work in the run-up to the Expo and participating nations
A: Last year, the construction work for all the exhibition facilities kicked off and one third of the total construction has already been completed. The deadline for hardware construction was initially February of 2012, but we plan to advance that schedule to the end of this year. Under the goal of finalizing all sorts of preparations for exhibition contents, art and culture events and welcoming ceremonies by the end of this year, we are working well on schedule. As for participating nations, 77 nations and four international organizations notified us of their participation as of the end of last year. This figure exceeded last year's goal of 70 nations. But we expect to achieve the ultimate goal of 100 nations in the first half of this year. In terms of preparedness, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea will be different from many other international events, where painting and repair work was often conducted right before the official openings. Our two-month rehearsal will make Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea fully prepared for welcoming visitors.
Q. What makes Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea different from previous Expos, especially from Expo 2010 Shanghai China
A: Though numerous Expos were held in coastal areas, none of them tried to turn the sea into an Expo venue. At Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, arresting, flamboyant art & cultural events will be held at sea, and floating exhibition halls with a 360 degree ocean view will be set up. Besides, performances that will be put on a floating stage are expected to inspire visitors. Also, the Marine Experience Park will allow visitors to experience the charms and mystery of the South Sea. On top of that, the Fishery Experience Hall will provide visitors with rare experiences with fishing, cultivating and picking fishery products. In addition, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea will minimize wait times to allow visitors to pay a visit to all the pavilions and enjoy art and cultural events within a day.
Q. Could you elaborate on the plan for U-Expo, which takes advantage of Korea status as an IT powerhouse
A: Backed by Korea's state-of-the-art IT, Expo 2012 Yeosu visitors will be able to draw up their Expo tour schedules and routes in consideration of reservations, transport, accommodation, food and shopping. Beside, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is different from previous Expos in that it is a two-way event. Korea's cutting-edge IT will help make Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea interactive. By capitalizing on IT, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea will provide visitors with hand-on experiences with advanced IT. The Expo Digital Gallery, which is to be set up between the International Pavilions and Cyber Facilities, is a ubiquitous avenue showing off Korea's cutting-edge IT technology. It is equipped with Media Walls installed in parallel along both sides of the wall. At the Expo Digital Gallery, the photos transmitted by visitors via smartphones will be turned into swimming whales on screens. Thanks to such IT exhibits, visitors will have a taste of a future world, where mankind coexists and communicates with the sea.
Q. What are the marketing strategies for Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea
A: Taking advantage of the fever surrounding the G20 Seoul Summit and Expo 2010 Shanghai China, we have billed Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea with the slogans, "Yeosu Picks up the Baton from Shanghai", and "Korea Plays Host to Expo 2012 Yeosu". Starting from this year, our promotional effort will kick into high gear in and out of Korea. In addition, as for our global promotional efforts, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea will be advertised in famous international channels and magazines like National Geographic. And in celebration of Visit Korea Year, which spans three years from 2010 to 2012, we will team up with relevant institutions such as Korea Tourism Organization to launch joint promotional activities and produce the best results.