There’s no question that Toronto is on a roll. Today we released our official 2015 tourism performance results showing growth for the sixth consecutive year as a record 14 million overnight visitors chose to come to Toronto.
And American overnight visitors have increased for the fifth consecutive year. This is a significant trend, because for many years Toronto relied on the Americans close by in Buffalo and Rochester, for instance, for a large chunk of our foreign tourism – and that’s still an important market for us. But the people close by tend to come for a shorter stay. It’s when visitors fly in that they tend to stay longer and do more.
That’s why we have aggressively targeted international travellers in the major U.S. cities, as well as key overseas markets, to drive sustained tourism growth.
Attracting more of these visitors also means more spending.
So our restaurants, our live music venues, our taxis and our attractions all benefit. Tourism is big business. Visitors spent $7.2 billion during their trips in 2015 – and that translates to jobs. There are 315,000 people employed in tourism and hospitality in the Toronto region.
Another important sector of tourism where Toronto is seeing growth is in the meetings and events industry. These meetings generate widespread economic activity not only from the events themselves, but from the spinoff leisure travel that results when business travellers return with their family and friends to take in more of the destination.
People who live in Toronto know what a lively and appealing place it is to live and work and now even more people further afield are seeing that appeal. There’s momentum and a buzz here and the more we can build that the better it is for all of us.