The International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012, the nation's second international fair following the 1993 Taejeon Expo, will be held in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, from May 12 next year. The three-month Expo to be held under the theme "Living Ocean and Coast," is expected to attract some eight million visitors from 100 countries, Kang Dong-suk, Chairman of the Yeosu Expo 2012 organizing committee, said.
The Expo, one of the world's big three events along with the Olympics and the World Cup, will provide an unprecedented opportunity for Korea to polish its national brand, he said. "It will be a good opportunity for Korea to upgrade the value of its national brand. It will also bring about a golden opportunity to make Korea known to the world rather than the Olympics or the World Cup," he said, adding that Yeosu will emerge as a global marine tourism destination. He said it will be a festival that will unfold on the ocean with top-quality services and lots of cultural events, saying "Domestic and foreign visitors will enjoy the expo as if they are participating in a festival."
"People from more than 100 countries are expected to experience Korea as the most advanced nation in the Expo running for three months, which is nearly three times as long as the World Cup," he said. As of May 19, 96 countries are confirmed to participate and nine other countries are considering taking part in the event. The organizing committee aims to draw at least eight million visitors.
"The Expo will help promote and share the country's knowledge and experience in 'green growth' with participating countries, international organizations and companies," he said. It will also showcase the wise development of the ocean and coastal areas for sustainable growth of the planet, he said. The theme is well reflected in the design of the exhibition facilities.
Noting that the Yeosu Expo will be the first event of its kind that constructs exhibition pavilions on water, a symbol of the harmonious existence of human beings and the ocean, he said that it will also serve as a promotional stage for home-grown information technology.
He said that visitors will be able to book their admission tickets, accommodation and even shop for Yeosu's specialties online with just a few clicks. On the website, the expo will operate a real-time booking and guiding system for smartphones, which will significantly reduce queuing times for visitors.
You can see all things about the sea
"Under the theme 'Living Ocean and Coast,' Korea will operate the Theme Pavilion, the Sub-Theme Pavilion and the Korea Pavilion, whereas foreign participants will operate the International Pavilion. Besides, there is the Local Government Pavilion, International Organization Pavilion, Corporate Pavilion and specialized facilities," Cho Yong-hwan, Chief of Public Relations of the Yeosu Expo 2012 organizing committee said.
The Theme Pavilion will feature an impressive encounter between "dugong," a large marine mammal, which is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, and a human boy through animation and performance.
The Sub-Theme Pavilion consists of an Ocean Biology Pavilion, a Climate Environment Pavilion, an Ocean Industrial Technology Pavilion, and an Ocean Civilization City Pavilion. The three sub-themes of the 2012 Yeosu Expo includes development and preservation of coast, new resources technology and creative ocean activity, respectively,
The Korea Pavilion is the nation's first new & renewable energy-based exhibition hall. It produces power by making the use of solar energy and operates the exhibition hall, pursuing "carbon neutral." It represents the vision and role of Korea as an ocean country, he said. In the International Hall, some 100 countries will directly show off their exhibits.
An aquarium will be built on a gross floor area of 16,400 square meters with a water tank capacity of 6,030 tons. It consists of an Aqua Museum, Coastal Life Pavilion and Marine Life Pavilion. In the aquarium, visitors can meet such rare varieties of animals such as Beluga whales, Baikai seals and Sea Dragons, he said.
Among specialized facilities, meanwhile, there is a Sky Tower; the Expo Digital Gallery (EDG), an electronic art gallery; and an ocean complex space, called Big-O.
3 mirages of 2012 Yeosu Expo
The 1889 Paris World Expo left the Eiffel Tower to the memory of people, and the 1893 Chicago World Expo left the Ferris Wheel, an observation wheel. Then what is the icon of the 2010 Yeosu Expo The Yeosu Expo 2012 organizing committee picked the three mirages of the Expo - Big-O, EDG, and Sky Tower, which best represent the major concepts of the exposition -- culture experience, ubiquitous and eco-friendly.
Big-O is the ocean space linking the breakwater in front of the exhibition hall and land where large-scale performance and events are to be held during the exhibition period. Visitors can experience ocean culture at the Big-O consisting of Eco Zone, Culture Zone and Water Zone, while enjoying a fantastic multimedia show during the night. EDG is an electronic art gallery where people can experience communication between sea and human beings through IT technology.
"Now is an era of information, speed and communication with the number of domestic smartphone users exceeding 10 million. We actively reflected the present times to the Yeosu Expo, making it a ubiquitous exhibition," said the spokesman.
On the 415-meter long street from the KTX Yeosu station to the exhibition hall, visitors can make images by using LED screens established on the surface of both walls on the street and advance IT technology.
Sky Tower, which was established by remodeling an abandoned cement storage house with the height of 55 meters, will play a role as the landmark of the Yeosu Expo.
3,200 cultural and art events to be organized
"A total of 3,200 cultural performances, art and academic events will be held during the 93-day Yeosu Expo to help domestic and foreign visitors to enjoy, feel and think," the spokesman said. In particular, the 48 meter-long ocean stage with 3,000 seats to be set up at the Big-O will present unforgettable memory and pleasure to visitors with new media shows and ocean performances.
So far, a total of 25 countries, including Spain, are to hold their own national day celebration events during the exhibition period in order to show off their traditional dances and other cultural performances. As of May 10, 52 percent of the construction work for the Yeosu exhibition hall was completed. "Hardware work for all exhibitions and structures will be finished by the end of this year," the spokesman said.
Commenting that 96 countries from Asia, Europe, America and Africa decided to participate in the Yeosu Expo, the spokesman said, eight international organizations, including the U.N., will also attend the world Expo. Meanwhile, the nation's seven large companies -- Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, LG, Lotte, POSCO and GS -- finalized their plan to participate in the international event.
Kang Dong-seok, Chairman of the Yeosu Expo 2012 organizing committee said, "All preparations for the global event have been carried out smoothly. We plan to finish the software preparations for contents and cultural arts events by the end of February of next year and complete all preparations before April 2012."
Kim Geun-soo, Secretary General of the organizing committee said, "We will finish all the construction work for the exhibition hall and major infrastructure before the opening ceremony and place the focus on developing contents and boosting PR activities."
Heated overseas responses to the Yeosu Expo
Overseas responses to the 2012 Yeosu Expo are becoming heated as 96 countries have already decided to participate and nine other countries are considering taking part in the event. For the 1993 Taejeon Expo, just 36 countries notified Korea of their participation 14 months before the official opening of the Expo.
The 2012 Yeosu Expo will serve as a "big dialogue" where people from around the world can find the best solutions for the preservation and sensible development of oceans, coastal areas and maritime resources, said the head of the Bureau of International Exposition. Related to this, Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, Secretary General of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), who visited Korea in April to inspect the country's readiness for the expo said, "The Yeosu Expo will become a 'big dialogue' in which participating countries and other international organizations put together ideas and opinions in a concerted effort to find the best solutions for the preservation of the ocean and its wise development."
Loscertales called for "strong global cooperation and solidarity" to find breakthroughs amid climate change viewed as an escalating threat to human beings. He expected the upcoming expo to offer Korea an opportunity to boost its ocean industry and to support its ongoing efforts as a leader in the international stage in addressing climate change.
"The 2012 Yeosu Expo is expected to promote the country's capability to wisely use the ocean and coastal areas for sustainable growth and not damaging the planet," the spokesman said. He said the upcoming Expo should be "educational and intriguing," which is a recipe for successful hosting of the event, adding "To that end, we are developing fresh contents, which visitors will be allowed to touch and experience directly."
The spokesman said, "The committee is making all-out efforts to guarantee easy accessibility to the expo venue by public transportation." Yeosu will widen and streamline roads leading toward the expo site with a budget of KRW 34 billion (US$ 31.2 million), given by the Yeosu government. The railroad for the KTX bullet train will be extended to the venue, enabling people in Seoul, home to 10 million people and 20 percent of the entire population, to reach the site in three hours or less.
Saying that among countries with high expectations of the Yeosu Expo is Italy, the spokesman said that the European country plans to present historical Italian marine traditions and its sophisticated system for sea, coastal and lagoon control and the defense of other environmental assets. "Spain, Germany, France and other ocean superpowers in Europe are also showing keen interest in the Yeosu Expo, actively preparing for their exhibition in Korea," Kwon Young-dae, a section chief of the organization committee, said.
Noting that some developing countries are also moving to participate in the Yeosu event, Kwon said, "The Yeosu Expo will provide developing countries with an opportunity to learn eco-friendly coast development methods that harmonize development and preservation."
In line with this, the government will inject KRW 10 billion each for operation of a joint exhibition hall by developing countries and the "Yeosu Project," he said. "In addition, such foreign local governments, including Venice of Italy, Fukuoka of Japan, and Weihai in Shandong Province, China, are applying for exhibition space. Under the present regulation, we cannot provide separate space for overseas local governments, but we are seriously considering various supporting means, including invitation of their traditional folk performance," Kwon said.
Yeosu Expo seeks volunteers
The organizing committee is inviting 13,000 volunteers for the 2012 Yeosu Expo from April 1 to June 30 for successful hosting of the 93-day global event. Koreans and foreigners aged over 18 are qualified for the position. If they are selected, they will engage in service activities in the nine fields - operation of the exhibition hall, traffic safety, facility management, interpretation, culture & arts, PR records, administration & computation, convenient facilities, and welfare, the spokesman said.
Volunteers will be classified into general and leader volunteers and they are given the Yeosu Expo uniform, actual expense, participation certificate, and souvenirs. Lee Jong-beom, the chief of the volunteer operation section of the organizing committee, said, "Volunteers can attain global sense and constitute various personnel networks as well as contribute to heralding Korea's status and brand value to the world as the face of the Yeosu Expo." Hopefuls are required to visit the homepage of the 2012 Yeosu Expo (http://vt.expo2012.or.kr).
Summary of the 2012 Yeosu Expo
A total of KRW 2.1 trillion will be spent for the 2012 Yeosu Expo, which will break down into KRW 1.8 trillion for facility costs and KRW 307.9 billion for operational expenses. "With the hosting of the international exposition, Korea can enjoy KRW 12.2 trillion in production inducement effects, KRW 5.7 trillion in value added, and the creation of 80,000 jobs," the spokesman said.
Noting that the Yeosu Expo will greatly contribute to developing the southern coastal area into the center of ocean tourism and industry, he said, "Globally, we can seek a solution to the pending problems facing humankind, including climate change, and suggest new paradigm for use of ocean resources."
As a strategy to differentiate the Yeosu Expo from other world expositions, including the Shanghai Expo, the organizing committee is placing the focus on the ocean field. "To further elevate the Yeosu Expo, we will use the ocean as a space for performances and give visitors the opportunity to experience and receive impressions through various events under the subject of ocean," he said.
The Shanghai Expo finished last year and attracted 73 million visitors from 189 countries and 57 international organizations. Meanwhile, the 2000 Hanover Expo attracted visitors from 160 countries and 22 international organizations.
Participants in the 2012 Yeosu Expo
Of the 100 targeted countries, 96 countries notified the organizing committee of their participation in the International Hall during the Yeosu Expo period as of May 19. "In the meantime, 12 other countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, and the Philippines, are considering taking part in the event," the spokesman said.
Under the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) agreement, a host country of the Expo is to extend free support for operation of the International Hall. Meanwhile, foreign delegates can enjoy such privileges as simplified customs procedures, diplomatic immunity, and tax exemptions. The organizing committee will also support the national day events organized by foreign countries by using domestic broadcasting media and IT technology. "In addition, foreign participants can introduce their countries' concern and R&D efforts to cope with pending issues facing humankind, including climate change and marine resource conservation," he said.
"For instance, advanced countries are able to effectively market their advanced technology and know-how about the environment, new & renewable energy and ocean-related technology. On the other hand, developing countries can learn such up-to-date technology and introduce their culture and natural resources," he said.
Among 96 participating countries there are 22 from Europe, 17 from North and South America, 28 from Asia, 22 from Africa, and seven in the Middle East. The eight international organizations to attend the global event are Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, United Nations (U.N.), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
4 strategies of the Yeosu Expo
For successful hosting of the 2012 Yeosu Expo through differentiation from other international expositions, the organizing committee has been pushing ahead with the four strategies -- green exposition, ubiquitous exposition, design exposition and cultural exposition, the spokesman said.
In keeping with the spirit of the theme of 2012 Yeosu Expo, all preparations and events will leave a limited carbon footprint, and the Energy Park will become the test-bed for renewable energy. "The entire Expo site will be constructed with environmentally-friendly methods and recycled materials to produce the least amount of waste possible," he said.
Noting that the construction and operation of the Expo facilities and exhibitions will be based on Korea's cutting-edge information technology, the spokesman said that visitors will have the chance to indulge in novel experiences, involving virtual and augmented reality. "The Expo Digital Gallery, among others, will be representative of the ubiquitous Expo," he noted.
Every facility of the Yeosu Expo will be based on the most inspirational and contemporary designs. Major facilities, including the Korea Pavilion and the Theme Pavilion, will be based on the winning designs of an international competition hosted for this very purpose. Prominent art directors will be invited to supervise the various cultural and arts events and advise on the creation of world class exhibitions.
Along with this, cultural events will be major attractions at the Yeosu Expo. A flavor of culture and art will be found in official events, exhibition contents and seminars. "Symbolic cultural products will be designed to promote the expo, and world famous cultural and arts performances will be an integral part of Yeosu's regional promotion," he added.