Not to put too fine a point on it, Toronto’s visitor economy is a vital catalyst for the city and regional economy, according to new data prepared for Tourism Toronto and the Toronto Region Board of Trade. The analysis in, Toronto’s Visitor Economy: An Economic Catalyst for the City and the Region, shows that visitors to Toronto generate an economic impact of $10.3 billion annually, from the city’s 27.5 million visitors per year. The significant 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.
The data analysis, produced by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics, highlights that the visitor economy generates significant tax revenue – to the sum of $1.8 billion in taxes for all three levels of government. These funds help pay for essential services and amounts to $1,020 of tax revenue saved for every household in Toronto.
Visitor spending has a significant impact on industries and employment in Toronto. Nearly 70,000 jobs are supported by visitor spending, with those positions generating $3.1 billion in wages for employees and representing 4.6 per cent 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.
Scott Beck, president & CEO of Tourism Toronto, observed: “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.”
As well, the data 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, said: “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.” states.
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 echnology, healthcare, finance and education.”
The visitor economy is a major growth sector for Toronto. Visitor arrivals to the city have increased 17 per cent over five years. While visitation is on the rise, visitor spending is growing even faster, with a 46 per cent 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 commented: “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.”
To check out the full report, go to http://partners.seetorontonow.com/about/torontos-visitor-economy/ .