In a previous blog post I wrote about the positive impact the meetings industry has on Toronto. Now, with the massive and prestigious Microsoft Worldwide Partner Convention (WPC) having just wrapped up in Toronto, I want to expand on that topic. A convention like WPC is much sought after by many cities around the world, and the fact that it’s been held here repeatedly (this was the third time in 12 years) is a testament to Toronto’s ability to handle – and excel at – hosting big, complex meetings.
The fact that we have large downtown venues – Microsoft used both the Metro Toronto Convention Centre as its convention headquarters and the Air Canada Centre for morning sessions and the closing event (with Gwen Stefani for entertainment!) – is just one of the reasons Toronto is chosen again and again as a host city. Downtown meeting space means easy walking access for attendees to our fabulous restaurants, attractions and waterfront. And that translates to happy meeting planners, because being able to attract more attendees to their convention (i.e. attendance building) is a win for them.
And it’s a win for Toronto. Microsoft WPC brought 16,200 delegates from 135 countries, which translates to $70 million in visitor spending. And for the first time in the history of the event, Microsoft reached its attendance limit well before the event and was able to close off registration early.
The most successful registration and attendance ever for this conference demonstrates the quality and global reputation both of the event and of Toronto. We’re known as a centre of innovation and entrepreneurship. Also, the way our local and provincial government officials and visitor industry came together to showcase Toronto to the global attendees further boosted Toronto’s reputation in these influencers minds and helps us secure future WPC meetings here.
And that’s just one example. Large meetings are held in Toronto throughout the year. Next week another major global meeting – the Alzheimer’s Association – is in town and it brings not only 5,000 delegates, but the top people in a vital medical field. That’s good for our hospitality business and also for our medical research sector that benefits from having these global leaders here.
Earlier this year, Perfect China held its incentive trip for 4,000 of its top salespeople here. The incentive business is growing for Toronto, and I’ll have more on that in a later post.