KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The nonprofit Destination Imagination has selected Kansas City to host its 2019 and 2020 Global Finals competition.
According to a news release from Visit KC, the Global Finals brings more than 17,000 students, parents and educators from more than 15 countries together. Students spend months solving one of seven project-based learning challenges that blend STEM learning with the arts. The news release said students compete at local and national levels to gain a spot at the Global Finals tournament, which is held in May.
They'll use the Sprint Center and the downtown Convention Center.
According to Visit KC, Kansas City was initially shortlisted with two other cities — St. Louis and Louisville — before it won the bid. The news release said Destination Imagination made the decision to move its event from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to Kansas City to “better serve its attendees, to provide a more centralized location for its many U.S. teams, and to provide attendees the opportunity to customize their accommodations.”
"This is the largest we've booked since 2008. It's the largest convention and the largest convention we'll host in 2019," said Cori Day, Vice President of Sales & Services at Visit KC.
Day said the competition is expected to bring nearly $14 million into the local economy.
"We're on the move. I mean, I know that sounds cliché but the movement Kansas City has shown, and the growth. With just the announcement of the new airport and the convention hotel. The streetcar has been huge; that's going to save them a lot on shuttling," Day said.
In 2014, Kansas City lost The SkillsUSA conference after hosting it for 21 years because there wasn't enough hotel space and not enough room under one roof.
With the new construction of several hotels downtown, that shouldn't be an issue for Destination Imagination.