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May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013

For additional information,
Contact: Amanda Shell
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 255-0661


Curious minds from around the globe are focused on Knoxville this week.

An estimated 18,000 people are expected to attend the 2013 Destination Imagination Global Finals competition to be held at the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Convention Center May 22-25.

“This is the 13th year we’ve hosted the Global Finals in Knoxville,” said Knoxville Convention Center General Manager Mary Bogert. “Each year a new group of finalists comes in bringing visitors from all over the world. Guests fill local hotels and dine in local restaurants, making an economic impact of $20-$25 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 nearly 8,000 students on more than 1,200 teams from 45 states, seven Canadian provinces and 13 countries.

“Many of the people we visit with have never been to Knoxville before,” said Bogert. “If they like what they see, chances are that they will come back to further explore our area; perhaps even bring a group or book a conference.”

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.

National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore will be the keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies Wednesday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Tennessee. Sartore will share how his work documenting endangered species and landscapes for National Geographic allowed him to experience firsthand the impact humans have on the environment and what we all can do to help preserve it.

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.

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 2014.

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