[Incheon Fair] Incheon Festival to Attract 7 Mil. Visitors
The 2009 Global Fair & Festival, the world's first exhibition on urban development models for the future, opens today in New Songdo City, Incheon.
The costal city will hold the event through Oct. 25, with the goal of attracting seven million visitors from here and abroad, organizers said.
In particular, Incheon is seeking half a million foreign tourists, particularly from neighboring countries China and Japan.
``We have made ardent preparations for the last three years to make the event a great success. We are confident that it will make a significant contributions to Incheon and the nation,'' Mayor Ahn Sang-soo said at a press conference Thursday, on the eve of the opening.
``We welcome each and every visitor to Incheon, the nation's most dynamic example of urban development," he said in reference to Songdo, the centerpiece of the country's first Free Economic Zone currently under construction.
Located 64 kilometers from Seoul, New Songdo City is expected to become one of Northeast Asia's multicultural centers of business and education by 2020.
Highlight of Exhibition
The festival will feature exhibitions, conferences and festivals organized around five main themes: Development of the New City, Environment and Energy, Advanced Technology, Tourism and Leisure, and Culture and Art.
Incheon has invited representatives of business and government as well as urban planners from 137 cities worldwide to explore futuristic urban development models and lifestyles utilizing up-to-date digital technologies.
``The festival is unique in that it will provide an opportunity for visitors to experience what cities will look like in the future,'' said Jin Dae-jae, head of the organizing committee.
Corporate giants such as Hyundai Engineering and Construction, POSCO E&C and others will present cases of adjusting urban development to the environmental and energy needs of the 21st century.
Mayor Ahn will announce the ``Incheon Declaration'' when the event comes to a close on Oct. 25.
To raise its profile, Incheon has planned some 20 events for the festival, including as the 2009 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) and the World City Water Forum 2009.
The forum will begin on Aug. 18 to discuss global concerns including water shortages with 5,000 participants.
The APCS has invited mayors and experts from 130 countries to share their visions on creative urban policies. The three-day conference starting Sept. 15 will include interactive workshops and plenary sessions.
The Incheon International Conference for Urban Humanities will be held from Oct. 19 to 21.
Culture and sports are also part of the festivities ― renowned conductor Chung Myung-whun will lead the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance that will be followed by a string of concerts during the next two months.
Incheon is planning a bicycle expo and a marathon ahead of the opening of the Incheon Bridge in October.
Admission and Accommodation
Festival hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. from today through Sept. 20. Starting Sept.21, the event closes at 8 p.m.
For tickets, visit www.incheonfair.org or call 032-440-8000. General inquires can be made at 1666-2009. A single adult ticket is priced at 18,000 won.
For foreign visitors, Incheon has been running a home-stay program. Applications can be made at 032-451-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.