DestinationsThe South Korean capital is the first major city to join the metaverse as it rolls out a virtual communication ecosystem for all areas of its municipal administration.

Enter the metaverse: the future of Seoul's travel and events

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Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon demonstrates what a metaverse might look like, attending as an avatar at a local event.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon demonstrates what a metaverse might look like, attending as an avatar at a local event. Photo Credit: Seoul City Government

Seoul is taking a first-mover advantage with the launch of its metaverse platform: a contactless communication channel for managing events, connectivity and tourism.

Tentatively called "Metaverse Seoul", the ecosystem will cover all areas of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) across economic, cultural, tourism, educational and civic service.

People might even be able to attend mass events when this project becomes a complete reality — all that's needed is a VR headset.

The first pilot slated was a Bosingak Belfry virtual bell ringing event in December 2021, which saw various SMG business support facilities and services, including the Virtual Mayor’s Office, Seoul FinTech Lab, Invest Seoul and Seoul Campus Town, on the metaverse platform.

Apart from placing major attractions such as Gwanghwamun Plaza, Deoksugung Palace and Namdaemun Market within the platform's “Virtual Tourist Zone", incentive groups can even access lost historical resources, such as the Donuimun Gate, which existed in the Joseon-era.

From 2023, Seoul’s leading festivals, such as the Seoul Lantern Festival, will be held in the metaverse, effectively enlarging its reach to a global audience. The SMG will also develop services for the socially vulnerable including safety and convenience content for people with disabilities using extended reality.

Also in 2023, the plan is for government officials to provide consultations and civil service duties on Metaverse Seoul, instead of physically at the civil service center at Seoul City Hall.

The platform is expected to be ready by end 2022, but Metaverse Seoul will roll out across three stages in a five-year plan.

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