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 August 28, 2014
Daegu, Republic of Korea, To Host The 14th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA)

 Daegu is celebrating a significant victory in its bid for a prestigious international congress. After fierce competition, it was announced on August 14 that the city would hold the 14th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA) in 2018.

The vote for the 2018 venue took place during the 13th ICOPA held in Mexico City, August 10 to 15. Daegu came out on top of its contender, Bangkok, in a significant win with Daegu securing the highest margin of votes in the congress' history.

ICOPA is organized by the World Federation of Parasitologists (WFP), which studies parasites and the prevention and control of parasitic diseases. This far-reaching organization has 100 societies in 60 countries, and its 50-year history includes a working relationship with the World Health Organization.

WFP holds ICOPA every four years, giving doctors, scientists and other experts the opportunity to share their research. The event provides a forum for parasitologists from around the world to exchange their knowledge for the advancement of parasitology.

The 14th ICOPA will bring between 2,000 to 3,000 delegates from 90 countries to Daegu in 2018. The win over Bangkok is a breakthrough for Daegu. In past years, this prestigious gathering had been held in Vancouver, Melbourne, Glasgow and Rome.

Korea's bidding committee, the driving force behind Daegu's successful bid, includes the Korean Society of Parasitology (KSP), the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO), Daegu Metropolitan City Government, and the Daegu Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB).

The bidding committee launched an aggressive, comprehension campaign. Its strategic promotion of Daegu came to a head at the 13th ICOPA in Mexico City where Korean cultural exhibitions were met with enthusiasm.

Participants had the opportunity to experience Korean culture through a Korean promotional booth and Korea Night, which included a traditional dance performance, Korean food and a hands-on experience with hanbok, traditional Korean clothing.

Daegu was also lauded for its two promotional presentations at the event, which were credited for being both professional and touching. Daegu managed to outshine its more well-known competitor, Bangkok, changing minds and swaying votes in its favor.

The victory was 18 months in the making. KTO already started promotion for local voters through their overseas agency before the 13th ICOPA. Korea's bidding committee prepared a competitive strategy to rally support, promoting KSP's brilliant academic accomplishments and inviting WFP leadership to Korea for a first-hand look at Daegu's convention infrastructure.

KSP's international network also played a crucial role as well as the Korean Embassy in Mexico, the Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Korean Culture Center in Mexico which all provided support of the promotional activities.

Thanks to the cooperation and support of multiple agencies, Daegu was able to draw votes away from Bangkok, which led the competition at first. This is an example of attracting international events to Daegu through the collaboration of different groups including KSP, Daegu Metropolitan City Government, KTO, EXCO, DCVB, the Korean Embassy in Mexico, and the Korean Culture Center in Mexico.

The committee's tenacity paid off. Prof. Jean Dupouy-Camet, President of European Federation of Parasitology, had high praise for the 14th ICOPA venue selection. He was impressed by the skills of local parasitologists, EXCO's renewable energy facilities and the wealth of opportunities to experience local culture.

"This clean and secure city is surrounded by forested mountains and is connected by high speed train to Incheon International Airport," he said. "The surroundings are nice with very interesting tourist attractions registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites."

Winning the bid for the 14th ICOPA bolsters Daegu's reputation as a Medi-City. The city is home to the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Medical Cluster and the Korean Institute of Brain Science. The cooperation of these related institutes have made Daegu a hub for medical and technological innovation while creating a welcoming environment for international events.

ICOPA is a chance to highlight the development of Korean health care and medical treatment to experts in the related fields. It is also an opportunity to improve and study by connecting Daegu Medi-Valley to the event.

Additionally, throughout the promotion activity, overseas researchers took note of the city as a new convention destination. All eyes will be on Daegu for this event, which will surely have other large-scale conventions considering the city as a venue in the future.

Daegu's win in its bid for the 14th ICOPA has been a huge source of pride for the city, proving that it can compete with other major cities in its convention infrastructure. The victory marks the beginning of a new chapter for Daegu in its rise as a global city. The Daegu Metropolitan City is dedicated to providing its support and cooperation to the related institutes to make the 14th ICOPA the most successful congress to date.

Daegu successfully hosted the WEC in October 2013 with 6,000 delegates (of whom 2/3 took the various post tours on offer). In 2015 Daegu will welcome the World Water Forum anticipating some 30,000 delegates

Other wins for Daegu include: Asia Pacific Chapter Meeting of International Society for Peritoenal Dialysis (1,500 delegates, September, 2015)

The Congress of the Endoscopic & Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia Pacific (ELSA) (1,000 delegates, September, 2015)

International Solar Energy Society Solar World Congress (ISES) (2,000 delegates, November, 2015)

World Conference on Acupuncture and Moxibustion (1,500 delegates, June, 2017)

World Congress of the International for Education Through Art (1,500 delegates, August, 2017)

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