Travel Info

You’ve probably heard about it, especially if you’ve spent some time in South Korea: there are posters everywhere even around Seoul! Busan is competing to host the 2030 World Expo! Let’s talk about it!


What’s a World Expo?

World Expos are “global gatherings 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.” (-Bureau National des Expositions).

World Expos have existed since 1851 and now happen every five years, with the next one taking place in 2025 in Osaka, Japan. They usually last 6 months. The host of the 2030 Expo has not been announced yet. It will be decided in November of this year in Paris by the Bureau International des Expositions. 

Among the other contestants, Rome Italy, Odesa Ukraine and Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Moscow was also a contestant before the invasion of Ukraine started in February of last year. For Busan, hosting the World Expo would be a great financial opportunity, and a prospect for more exposure and affirmation of the country’s already well-installed soft-power. World Expos have always been extremely important as some great monuments originate from it. It’s the case of the Eiffel Tower for example! These events bring tourism, opportunities for investment and shed light on local actors of the technological and urban field.

The theme…

Busan’s theme is: “Transforming our world, navigating toward a better futureIt implies the integration of environmental issues and technological progress aiming to improve people’s lives. The word “navigating” is a direct reference to Busan’s coastal environment. Moreover, if the city’s chosen, the expo will be held in its North harbor zone. 
According to Busan mayor Park Heong-joon, different projects will be conducted to raise Busan as a future-friendly city: 
  • The implementation of 5G and 6G
  • The construction of autonomous vehicles and medicalized buses
  • The surveillance of atmospheric pollution through satellites
  • The generalization of green hydrogen
Busan also aims to open another international airport if the city’s chosen.

Bid promotion

To increase the city’s chances, Busan is promoting South Korean culture in the world and especially in Paris. Several expositions have been held in the French capital, including one at the Korean Cultural Center. The goal is to show that Busan is strategically situated and territorially organized for this exposition, as the city is positioning itself as the gateway to Eurasia. Other events are taking place all over the french capital. For instance, a Busan Cafe opened unti June 21st in Châtelet-les-Halles, a popular parisian shopping district. This cafe is Busan and sustainability themed. Busan city’s also organising street performances of Kpop and traditional music in Paris near the Seine and the Trocadéro!
However, Busan’s strongest asset has nothing to do with geography as Kpop band BTS’ members have become ambassadors to the contesting city. The band held a bid concert on October 15th 2022 both at Asiad Main Stadium and online for foreign fans to see! 
Other important ambassadors are: Squid Game actor Lee Jung Jae, star Soprano Jo Sumi and notable brands such as Hyundai or POSCO. 
The World Expo will take place between May 1st and October 31st 2030. Stay tuned for the announcement of the hosting city!

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