Why Busan is the ideal host for World Expo 2030

The Korean coastal city is ready to transform with the world

Busan boasts of beautiful scenes with its seven beaches, seven bridges, and 10 mountains. (Photo courtesy of Busan Metropolitan City)

In July 2022, World Expo 2030 Bid Committee Busan appointed Korean superstars BTS—RM, Jung-kook, Jimin, V, Suga, JHope, and Jin—to be honorary ambassadors for the World Expo, commencing its promotions to host the global event.

“BTS will play a pivotal role in drumming up support for Busan’s bid. In this fierce competition among world cities to host the World Expo, we’re proud to have BTS representing Busan’s bid,” said Prime Minister Han Duck-Soo, who also co-chairs the World Expo 2030 Bid Committee. “With BTS as our ambassadors, let’s work as a team to succeed in securing the bid and make the Expo a memorable event for people around the world.”

For Busan Mayor Park Heong-Joon, the city’s bid to host will greatly impact the country with the generation of economic value that’s twice to even thrice of the Olympic Games or World Cup, positioning the southern region to be at par with Korea’s capital of Seoul. With this, the expo is also poised to offer South Korea a springboard to join the world’s top seven economic superpowers. “(Hosting World Expo 2030 Busan) will further the national interests and become a great driving force for balanced national development,” the mayor further explained.

BTS appointed as honorary ambassadors for World Expo 2030 Busan. The ceremony was attended by South Korea Prime Minister Han Duk-Soo, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Chey Tae-Won, Busan City Mayor Park Heong-Joon, and HYBE CEO Park Ji-Won. (Photo courtesy of World Expo 2030 Busan)

A month later, in August 2022, BigHit Music’s Twitter account released the first poster for its “Yet to Come in Busan” concert, solidifying support for Busan’s bid. The free event slated for next month is expected to draw in 100,000 concert-goers from all over the world.

RM of BTS also shared, “We will do everything we can to help Busan win the bid to host World Expo 2030. We’ll begin by promoting Busan during our Global Busan Concert in October, which we will follow up with other activities to help bring the 2030 World Expo to Busan.” Furthermore, the Korean superstar also reaffirmed the band’s commitment “to promoting the beautiful scenery and culture that Korea has to offer the world.”

Lee Seung-Woo, director of Overseas Expo Outreach Division, at Busan Port (Photo by Rey Ilagan/MB)

Global hub city

Sitting on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, the coastal city of Busan is the second largest metropolis in Korea, as well as being the fifth busiest port in the world. Once a little fishing village, and now becoming a mega city, Busan truly positions itself to be at the center of another great transformation.

In 1407, Busan first opened its shores to the world as Busan-po. It then became Korea’s first trading port by 1876, igniting its shift to modernization and industrialization. By the 1970s, Busan Port was in charge of 70 percent of Korea’s exports that spearheaded the modern growth of the country. And since its opening, Busan has been Korea’s main point of interaction with the world since the ancient Gaya and Shilla periods, laying the foundation for the country’s economic development and growth after the devastating aftermath of the Korean War.

Today, with an international passenger ferry terminal and nine container terminals across four locations, Busan Port has been transformed into a modern-day gateway to prosperity. With this, the hosting of the exposition at the Busan North Port as the proposed site will actually coincide with the 150th anniversary of its opening.

With its successful transformation, Busan now boasts of a Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of 83 trillion Korean Won (or approximately $60 billion). As a 10 million-strong mega city, it’s also the second largest transshipment port, seventh largest container port, and 13th largest MICE city in the world.

Busan has unparalleled experience in hosting international events and conferences best exemplified by 2002 Asian Games, 2005 APEC Summit, and 2014 and 2019 Korea-ASEAN Special Summit. It’s also home to cultural events including Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), G-Star Game Show, Busan Motor Show, Rock Festival, Fireworks Festival, and Korean concerts with millions of visitors from all over the world.

If Busan wins the bid in 2030, Korea will become the seventh country in the world to have held the three mega-events along with the Olympic Games and World Cup.

Lee Seung-Woo, director of Overseas Expo Outreach Division, tours members of the Philippine media around Busan Port and the proposed World Expo 2030 site. (Photo by Rey Ilagan/MB)

Designing the future of humanity

During a recent media tour arranged by Korea Tourism Organization Manila Office, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle went to Busan to witness firsthand the plans of the city for World Expo 2030, which will be held from May to October 2030.

According to World Expo, officially known as International Registered Exhibitions, it is “a global gathering of nations dedicated to finding solutions to pressing challenges of our time by offering a journey inside a universal theme through engaging and immersive activities.” It is held every five years, with specialized expositions in between. Host cities in the past have welcomed tens of millions of visitors, prompting them to build megastructures that forever changed the course of their city.

In its bid, Busan’s main theme for the exposition is “Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future.” Under this theme, World Expo 2030 Busan plans to address three global challenges the world is facing today: climate change, downsides of digital transformations, and inequality among nations. The three sub-themes are “Sustainable Living with Nature,” “Technology for Humanity,” and “Platform for Caring and Sharing.”

“The Korean government, private sector, and Busan City’s local government are joining hands in order to have a successful hosting of the expo,” said Lee Seung-Woo, director of Overseas Expo Outreach Division, when asked what are the chances of Busan winning the bid. “Also we do have successful global businesses, practices, and diplomacy as well. By gathering all those successful examples, and then exchanging thoughts and ideas, we are making our best efforts to convince the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions) nations by joining such efforts.”

Proposed floating city in Busan (Photo courtesy of OCEANIX)

Ushering in a new era of hope

As a dynamic city that’s very much present in the past as well as in the future, Busan is a melting pot of diverse peoples and culture, ever-developing, and driven by technology and innovation.

In collaboration with UN-Habitat and OCEANIX, Busan is currently developing a floating city project to showcase at World Expo 2030, as the world’s first prototype of a resilient and sustainable floating community off the shores of Busan Port. The floating city, which will be self-reliant in terms of energy, water supply, and electricity, will be six hectares with six integrated systems to host 12,000 citizens.

When asked about other sustainable practices for the expo, Lee mentioned, “We are currently working on technologies, and research and development regarding climate change, so that we could introduce new solutions and technology regarding climate change and also in order to move towards sustainable development. We are making efforts to transform our industry structure as well, for instance, using less coal energies.”

“The expo will draw many tourists and foreign international visitors as well and that will provide many opportunities for Koreans,” he continued. “We do have national events that will host many global delegations as well as business delegations as well. So we expect to create economic opportunities which will lead to the income of Korean people as well.”

In time for the expo, Busan is set to build more tourism infrastructures including additional modes of transportation, cruise ships, and a new international airport. These planned projects will also push through even beyond the hosting of World Expo 2030.

At its core, Busan is set to share solutions to problems facing mankind at World Expo 2030, conveying the hopes for starting a journey toward a brighter future for all. Busan wishes to transform with the world in 2030.

For more information, visit https://www.expo2030busan.kr/.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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