Destinations International’s 2019 Convention, By the Numbers

August 8, 2019

The 2019 annual convention for Destinations International, held July 23-25 at America’s Convention Center Complex in downtown St. Louis, was a success by all accounts. This year’s event featured several new elements, including The Exchange—a stage that featured a rotating schedule of 15-minute sessions covering topics such as tech and data, leadership and management, social media and more.

“Evolve and Elevate” was the theme of the conference, and throughout the program, leaders from DI as well as Destinations International Foundation celebrated those who have demonstrated their commitment toward destination marketing worldwide.

In addition to many insightful sessions, attendees had the opportunity to learn from speakers such as Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy; Sarah Robb O’Hagan, founder and CEO of Extreme Living; and Mark Ellwood, a contributing editor for Conde Nast Traveler, among others.

On Tuesday, some attendees took a swing for charity at a golf tournament at Gateway National supporting the Foundation. That evening, a lively welcome reception sponsored by Explore St. Louis was held at Ballpark Village. In addition to dinner and dessert, it included appearances from the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues mascots, an experience with the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame, a DJ and dancing.

DI partnered with Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis for a giveback opportunity on Wednesday, where attendees filled backpacks with school supplies for families with children in need.

Throughout the conference, a little friendly competition ensued with a step challenge: Participants used their personal FitBits, Apple watches or Garmins to track their steps for the chance to earn prizes like wireless headphones.

The event closed out with a bang at Anheuser-Busch Brewery, a St. Louis original.

Take a look at a recap of the conference, by the numbers:

1,525 Total attendeesDI

13 countries in attendance

5 keynote sessions

4 mega sessions

50 concurrent sessions

6 hotels in the room block

31 industry representatives who received their CDME certification

48 destination organizations honored for DMAP accreditation, renewal and/or reaccreditation

1 DI Destination Organization Leadership Award recipient (Brad Dean!)

$91,000 raised at the annual silent auction

$98,000 overall funds raised throughout the convention including raffles and T-shirt sales

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The Schaumburg Convention Center is the powerhouse meeting facility in the Midwest with abundant free parking. This sophisticated 100,000 square foot state-of-the-art Convention Center features column-free space, 30-foot ceilings, 120 feet of covered dock space and 750 MB Wi-Fi access through-out. Adjacent is an additional 48,000 square feet of meeting space including a 27,500 square-foot ballroom.