An estimated 16,000 people are expected to attend the 2014 Destination Imagination Global Finals competition to be held at the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Convention Center May 21-24.

“For 14 years, we have hosted a new group of finalists from all over the world,” said Knoxville Convention Center General Manager Mary Bogert.  “Guests fill local hotels and dine in local restaurants, making an economic impact of $10.1 million on the community. This event provides the perfect opportunity for us to introduce these out-of-towners to our great city and impress them with our Southern hospitality.”
Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit organization that inspires kids to discover their creativity through challenges and problem-solving. Teams that advance past regional, state, or county tournaments are invited to participate in the Global Finals, the culminating event of each Destination Imagination season. This year’s finalists include approximately 10,000 students on more than 1,400 teams.

“This is many of our guests’ first time in Knoxville,” said Bogert. “If they like what they see, chances are that they will come back to further explore our area.”

The world's largest creativity competition, Destination Imagination’s Global Finals uses facilities at the University of Tennessee as well as the Knoxville Convention Center to house the activities for the four-day competition.
Rachel Hale, 2013 “American Idol” contestant and Destination Imagination alum, will speak and perform at the opening ceremonies on Wednesday, May 21, at Thompson-Boling Arena at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday through Saturday the Knoxville Convention Center will be the site of the Innovation Expo, featuring vendors offering a hands-on experience of their products, a souvenir sales area, and a dedicated Fair Pin Trading Zone. Camps and competitions will also be held at the Center each day.

“The entire Convention Center will be utilized during this event, from our meeting rooms and ballroom to our ground floor exhibit hall,” said Bogert. “Even the Clinch Avenue Concourse will be used as the 3M Duct Tape Campground where students participate in a tape-by-numbers activity to create a giant duct tape mural. This event gives us a chance to show off a lot of what we can do, from lighting and décor, to food service, to audio-visual capabilities.”

Each year, new and exciting programs and challenges are developed for the competition to ensure they are relevant and align to National Education Standards, STEM standards, ELA Common Core Standards and Mathematics Common Core Standards. The challenges encourage problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and teamwork, all the skills that these students will draw on when they go to college and ultimately enter the work force.
In partnership with the Convention Center, Visit Knoxville is hosting a scavenger hunt for Destination Imagination kids and their families to learn more about Knoxville and sponsoring a Knoxville-themed trading pin at the Innovation Expo.  

The Destination Imagination Global Finals planning committee is apparently pleased with the Southern hospitality in Knoxville. They have already scheduled the event in town again in 2015.
About the Knoxville Convention Center

The Knoxville Convention Center, managed by SMG, is located in downtown Knoxville adjacent to the Sunsphere. It boasts a 120,000 square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,000 square-foot divisible ballroom and up to 25 meeting rooms. For more information, visit

About SMG

Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 230 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theatres, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers, and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 15 million square feet of exhibition space and more than 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as McCormick Place & Solider Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s Reliant Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions, catering and special events division, SAVOR, currently servicing 130 accounts worldwide. For more information visit