As Toronto continues to make international headlines, most recently with Amazon’s announcement the city is on the shortlist for its second headquarters, tourism officials say it’s that kind of exposure that is driving a record-breaking amount of visitors to the area.
According to newly-released statistics by Tourism Toronto, the region hosted more than 43.7 million visitors in 2017 and more than 15 million visitors stayed overnight in Toronto — both figures shattering previous records.
“Toronto has really captured a lot of people’s attention and it’s not just as a tourism destination,” Andrew Weir, executive vice president of Tourism Toronto, told Global News.
“It’s because we’re a finalist for Amazon, because Sidewalk Labs is here, because our sports teams are doing well, our music industry is producing so many top stars around the world and the film production in the city — people are seeing Toronto and hearing about it in so many different ways.”
Weir said all that visitor activity has resulted in $8.8 billion being generated in the local economy during 2017.
“They’re spending on hotels, restaurants, attractions, taxis and retail … but it’s also convention business,” he said.
“(There are) over 300,000 jobs across the region that actually depend on tourism into our area.”
LISTEN: Andrew Weir of Tourism Toronto joins The Morning Show on 640 Toronto
In terms of international travellers in Toronto, visitors from China continued to top the list in 2017 with approximately 319,000 visitors.
The biggest increase in international tourism came from those visiting from Mexico. Tourism Toronto said there was a 72-per-cent increase in visitors during 2017 compared to 2016. Weir said this is due in part to the easing of visa restrictions. However, he said politics could be playing a role too.
“But also you have to think that some of that is a result of the political dynamic and Mexican travellers who might have gone to the U.S. before are rethinking the type of welcome they’re receiving there, so they’re finding their way to Canada instead and Toronto in particular,” Weir said.
WATCH: Tourists say cultural diversity is why they visit Toronto. Kamil Karamali reports.
Looking ahead for the rest of this year, Weir said Toronto could see continued growth thanks to conventions being held in the region.
“We’ll have the most conventions we’ve ever had in the city and that’s great news because that’s business that comes all year round and they spend a lot of money in all kinds of different businesses,” he said
2017 Toronto tourism statistics compared to 2016:
– 43,730,000 total visitors to Toronto (increase of 3.6 per cent)
– 28,200,000 same-day visitors (increase of 3.3 per cent)
– 15,530,000 overnight visitors (increase of 4.1 per cent)
– 2,973,000 U.S. overnight visitors (increase of 4.8 per cent)
– 5,120,000 international overnight visitors (increase of 5.6 per cent)
– $8,840,000,000 in spending (increase of 9.1 per cent)
– $1,763,000,000 in U.S. visitor spending (increase of 10.5 per cent)
Visitors from international/overseas markets in 2017 compared to 2016:
– China, 319,000 (increase of 9.1 per cent)
– United Kingdom, 263,000 (decrease of six per cent)
– India, 161,000 (increase of 31 per cent)
– South Korea, 122,000 (increase of 24 per cent)
– Japan, 95,000 (decrease of two per cent)
– Germany, 93,000 (decrease of two per cent)
– France, 84,000 (increase of six per cent)
– Italy, 79,000 (no increase or decrease)
– Mexico, 75,000 (increase of 72 per cent)
– Brazil, 71,000 (increase of 23 per cent)
Source: Tourism Toronto