October 21, 2013 12:26 pm
Updated: October 22, 2013 7:14 am

Toronto becoming a hot spot for tourists


ABOVE: American tourists making a comeback to Toronto. Jennifer Palisoc reports. 

TORONTO – A sheepish North American economy is having little impact on the number of international tourist streaming into the City of Toronto.

The latest numbers from 2011 says hotel room nights sold surpassed nine million for the first time and continues its upward swing.

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Most of the increase is attributed to overseas visitors from the United Kingdom, China and India.

The city is beginning to hit its tourism stride following the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto which cost the industry an estimated $2 billion in lost revenues, and resulted in an estimated 28,000 layoffs.

For the last couple of years, Tourism Toronto had been active abroad in raising awareness about Toronto’s destination potential.

Just recently, a report released last week ranked Toronto second in the world when it comes to world reputation.

New hotels and attractions building in the last few years have also helped Toronto’s cause.

Luxury hotels which have opened include the Ritz Carlton, Trump International, Shangri-La and Four Seasons.

The city also continues to draw big name art installations including Ai Weiwei’s “According to What?” and the David Bowie exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

City officials say the grand opening last week of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will also be a main draw for years to come.

In addition, the $300 million Aga Khan Centre will open in 2014 and the city is set to host the Pan Am Games in 2015.

The 150,000-business tourism industry normally takes in about $22 billion a year in Ontario, employing more than 400,000 people.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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