Toronto reaches milestone in tourism performance

2011 was another record year for tourism in Toronto as the number of hotel room nights sold surpassed nine million for the first time ever, according to figures released by Tourism Toronto. Additionally, for the first time since 2006, Toronto has seen an increase in overnight visitors from the US, while emerging overseas markets continued to show growth. “The momentum of the past several years and repositioning of our product has propelled Toronto into another strong year,”said David Whitaker, president of Tourism Toronto. “Although not without some challenges, in 2011 we continued to focus on high-value visitors from the US and looked to key overseas markets such as China, India, Brazil and Western Europe for growth.”In 2011, Toronto welcomed 10 million overnight visitors. Visitor spending, including same day trips, totalled $4.6 billion in the Toronto region across a range of businesses and activities, employing 242,000 people in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The fastest growing markets are from overseas travellers, which rose by 6.2% and now account for 14% of all visitors to Toronto. The biggest growth is coming from China (34.5% increase), India (13.2%), Italy (9.3%) and Brazil (9.2%). The top international visitor arrival markets for Toronto in 2011 were: US, 2,043,900, +2.7%; UK, 191,300, -2.6%; China, 154,100, +34.5%; India, 75,200, +13.2%; Germany, 72,100, +0.2%; France, 63,600, +1.3%; Japan, 63,400, +0.7%; Italy, 51,200, +9.3%; Brazil, 44,700, +9.2%; South Korea, 39,900, -0.1%. “Visitors from overseas tend to stay longer and do more while they’re here,”said Whitaker. “They also often visit other parts of Ontario and Canada on the same trip.”Tourism Toronto estimates show that in 2011, Toronto saw a 2.7% increase in overnight visitors from the US. In addition, the US traveller profile continued to shift toward high-value urban dwellers who are likely to fly to Toronto, stay longer and spend more. Air arrivals to Toronto from the US grew by 6.7% over 2010, and 19 of the previous 20 months showed increases in US air arrivals. “Toronto has a new lustre among sophisticated US travellers, illustrated by its inclusion as one of Travel + Leisure magazine’s ‘Hottest Destinations in 2012,'”said Whitaker. “Getting that kind of recommendation is a real coup and we should all be proud that the efforts so many have put into building this city over the past decade are being recognized.”(