Tourism Toronto reports that the city hit record level arrival numbers in 2013, welcoming its highest number of international visitors and selling the most hotel room nights ever. And for the third year in a row Toronto saw an increase in overnight visitors from the US. Tourism Toronto’s estimates for 2013 show that Toronto welcomed a total of 13.69 million overnight visitors led by growth in international visitor arrivals.
The 1.42 million visitors who arrived from overseas markets (all countries other than Canada and the U.S.) was the highest figure ever. A further 2.18 million Americans arrived in the destination for an overnight stay, marking a third straight year of growth from the vital U.S. market.
The record number of hotel room nights sold was 9.22 million, up 2.8% over 2012, and translated to 69.3% hotel occupancy in 2013.
David Whitaker, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto, said, “The momentum of the past several years and continued repositioning of our product has propelled Toronto to another strong year. Our growth strategy focuses on high-value visitors from major US cities and key overseas markets such as the U.K., Germany, China, Japan and Brazil.”
And while visitors from other parts of Canada remain the largest market for tourism in Toronto, international visitors tend to stay longer and spend more while visiting the city.
Terry Mundell, president of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association, noted, “In 2013, overseas visitors stayed in paid accommodations an average of 4.5 nights per trip. That represents over 1 billion in spending in the destination, and is a significant contributor to jobs throughout the region.”
Total visitor spending, including same-day trips, was $6.54 billion in the Toronto region across a range of businesses and activities including accommodations, attractions, restaurants, taxis, retail and entertainment. The tourism and hospitality sector employs 315,000 people across the Toronto region in a wide range of businesses that rely on inbound tourism.
The U.K. remains Toronto’s largest overseas visitor market with 201,000 arrivals in 2013. China leads the new growth, increasing 15% last year and 58% since 2010, accounting for 181,000 visitors to the Toronto region in 2013.
Tourism Toronto estimates show that in 2013, Toronto saw a 1.7% per cent increase in overnight visitors from the US over 2012 and a 9.7% increase over 2010. In addition, the US traveller profile continues to shift toward high-value urban dwellers that are likely to fly to Toronto, stay longer and spend more. Americans who flew to Toronto accounted for 61% per cent of total US visitors in 2013, up from 51% in 2009.