Meetings Canada


Toronto Strong in Events, Tops with Tourists

Tourism Toronto’s just-released stats for 2013 show record growth in international visitors to the city, an increase in overnight visitors from the U.S., and solid, long-term business in conventions and events.

In 2013, the association and its partners booked 745 future meetings and conventions that will bring 406,000 attendees to Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton and will generate 593,000 future hotel room nights. Fifteen of the 745 future meetings and conventions booked are considered “major meetings.” They will be based at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and have more than 1,100 attendees at multiple hotels.

Tourism Toronto’s list of future meetings and conventions includes:

  • 2014 – ACN (2,000)
  • 2016 – Alzheimer’s Association (6,000)
  • 2016 – NBA All-Star Game
  • 2017 – Canadian Federation for the Humanities & Social Sciences (9,000)

In 2013, the city hosted several big events including the National Medical Association (6,500), Little Native Hockey League (6,000) and the Barbershop Harmony Society (11,000).

“Having prestigious, international events choose Toronto is a boost to our reputation as a major event destination,” said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “The momentum of major events continues as we welcome World Pride this summer and the Pan Am / Parapan Am Games in 2015.”

On the leisure tourism side, Tourism Toronto estimates that in 2013 the city welcomed a total of 13.69 million overnight visitors, including 1.42 million visitors from overseas markets (all countries other than Canada and the United States). This is the largest number of overseas visitors on record. Some 2.18  million Americans also arrived in the destination for an overnight stay, marking a third straight year of growth from the U.S. market.

The increase in visitors led to a record 9.22 million hotel room nights being sold. This is an increase of 2.8 per cent over 2012, and translates to 69.3 per cent hotel occupancy in 2013.

“The momentum of the past several years and continued repositioning of our product has propelled Toronto to another strong year,” said Whitaker. “Our growth strategy focuses on high-value visitors from major U.S. cities and key overseas markets such as the U.K., Germany, China, Japan and Brazil.”

While visitors from other parts of Canada remain the largest market for tourism in the city, international visitors tend to stay longer and spend more. “In 2013, overseas visitors stayed in paid accommodations an average of 4.5 nights per trip,” said Terry Mundell, president of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association. “That represents over one billion in spending in the destination, and is a significant contributor to jobs throughout the region.”

Other leisure tourism stats released by Tourism Toronto include:

  • $6.54 billion – Total visitor spending in the Toronto region across a range of businesses and activities including accommodations, attractions, restaurants, taxis, retail and entertainment.
  • 315,000 – Number of people across Toronto region employed in hospitality and tourism sector, or businesses that rely on inbound tourism.
  • 201,000 – Number of United Kingdom arrivals in 2013 (the city’s largest overseas market).
  • 58% – Growth in the number of visitors from China since 2010 (181,000 arrivals in 2013—15 per cent increase over 2012).
  • 10.9 million – Number of overnight stays by Canadians
  • 25 million – Number of same-day visits by Canadians
  • $2.31 billion – Spending in the destination generated by Canadian visitors
  • 1.7% – Increase in overnight visitors from the U.S. over 2012 (9.7 per cent increase over 2010)
  • 61% – Number of American visitors who flew to the city in 2013 (up from 51 per cent in 2009)
  • Traveller profile change – Tourism Toronto reports that the U.S. traveler profile continues to shift to high-value urban dwellers who are likely to fly to Toronto, stay longer and spend more.


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