women in travel
Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Dec 16, 2019
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Quite the impact

Toronto study finds tourism a major economic force


For those who question the economic power of tourism, the recently released tourism impact study by Tourism Toronto and the Toronto Region Board of Trade should remove any doubt that the industry is a vital catalyst for the city and regional economy.

Toronto’s Visitor Economy: An Economic Catalyst for the City and the Region reveals that visitors to the city generate an economic impact of $10.3 billion annually, from the city’s 27.5 million visitors per year.

That impact is felt through tax revenue, job creation and growth, and overall spend in many industry sectors, making the opportunity to grow the visitor economy an important one.

Produced by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics, the study highlights the fact that the visitor economy generates significant tax revenue – to the sum of $1.8 billion in taxes for all three levels of government. And those funds help pay for essential services and amounts to $1,020 of tax revenue saved for every household in Toronto.

As well, visitor spending has a significant impact on industries and employment in Toronto. Close to 70,000 jobs are supported by visitor spending, with those positions generating $3.1 billion in wages for employees and representing 4.6% of all jobs within Toronto. With 10,000 new jobs added over the last five years, jobs supported by visitor spending are also growing at a faster rate than the overall economy.

Tourism Toronto’s president and CEO, Scott Beck said: “The visitor economy is an important pillar in Toronto’s diverse economy, and an incubator for the broader economy that fuels industries and creates jobs for residents.”

Beck continued: “This is a destination with visitors as diverse as the city itself. From the leisure travellers, to the delegates here for meetings, conferences and events, Toronto’s visitor economy is thriving – and when the visitor economy is strong, so is Toronto.”

The study also found that the benefits of the visitor economy are felt beyond the city of Toronto. When looking at the Toronto region, in 2018, the economic impact of the visitor economy reached $17.6 billion, creating more than 121,000 total jobs, and $5.2 billion in wages. Visitors also provide a significant economic boost for communities outside the Toronto region, as they spend a further $2 billion in communities including Niagara Falls, Ottawa and Muskoka.

Jan De Silva, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, observed: “Tourism is central to business growth. Whether a visitor is coming to our region for business, pleasure, or both, that visit is a critical economic driver that crosses multiple industries.”

And De Silva pointed out that: “A tourist visit or conference kicks into action a value chain composed of service, hospitality, and event staging sectors, and then reaches beyond to other sectors including technology, healthcare, finance and education.”

Even better, the visitor economy is a major growth sector for Toronto. Visitor arrivals to the city have increased 17% over five years. While visitation is on the rise, visitor spending is growing even faster, with a 46% increase from 2013 to 2018. The increase in visitor spending is driven by Toronto’s growing share of the international visitor market. Long-haul international visitors stay longer and spend more.

Toronto’s meetings, conferences and events industry is at the heart of a strong visitor economy. Major conventions (over 1,000 delegates) welcome nearly 400,000 business delegates, generating more than $850 million in economic impact.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said:”We are Canada’s downtown – more and more people want to visit Toronto to enjoy everything our city has to offer. This report makes it clear how important our vibrant visitor economy is to supporting jobs and businesses here in Toronto and across Ontario.”

And the mayor added: “I am committed to working with the federal and provincial governments to ensure we are helping to further grow and strengthen this sector, because we know a strong visitor economy here in Toronto is good for everyone.”

Go to http://partners.seetorontonow.com/about/torontos-visitor-economy/ for more on the study.