Toronto's 28 million tourists generated $10.3 billion economic impact last year

Feb 26 2020, 7:57 am

Toronto’s tourism sector grew even more in 2019, setting a new visitor record of 28 million visitors in the city.

The new record tops 2018’s 27.5 million visitors.

Last year, tourists spent $6.7 billion in the city, which includes restaurants, attractions, transportation, retail and accommodations — nearly $200 million more than in 2018.

According to Tourism Toronto, the city has experienced a decade of growth with more than four million visitors added over the 10 years.

Toronto’s visitor economy continues to be an economic engine for the city, and that benefits all of us. This is a sector of Toronto’s economy that supports 70,000 jobs and 10,000 new jobs over the past 10 years,” Scott Beck, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto, said. “It generates billions in tax revenue for all three levels of government and drives growth in the overall economy for the city, the region and the province.”

In 2019, Tourism Toronto partnered with the Toronto Region Board of Trade on a economic impact study that assessed the importance of Toronto’s visitor economy. The study, based on 2018 data, found the visitor economy generated $10.3 billion in overall economic impact for the city.

China & US are the city’s biggest overseas markets

China remains Toronto’s largest overseas market with 222,000 visitors.

Even though visits from China decreased slightly in 2019, overall visits from China have increased 24 % over the last five years.

Visits from the US, Toronto’s largest international market, continues to rise with nearly two million visitors, representing a 15% increase over five years. Visitor spending from the US increased to $1.35 billion – indicating 51% growth over five years.

Toronto also saw strong growth from the Mexican market, welcoming 64,000 visitors in 2019, representing a five-year growth of 146%.

Toronto’s business events industry generates substantial revenue

Toronto’s business events industry proved to be a valuable means for generating revenue.

In 2019, 574,000 people attended meetings, conferences and events stemming from the city’s 1,124 total meetings. The economic impact for meetings in Toronto reached a record $1.24 billion.

In 2019, Toronto was named Canada’s top meeting destination for the second consecutive year by Cvent.

“I’m proud to champion Toronto’s visitor economy and its benefits to everyone in our city. It is great to see the number of visitors to Toronto continuing to grow. We want it to grow not only because visitors mean jobs and spending in our city but also because those visitors, when they experience Toronto, also become permanent residents and job creating investors in Toronto,” Mayor John Tory said.

According to Tourism Toronto, overall the Toronto region saw, “45.4 million visitors and $10.9 billion in visitor spending, both new records” with Destination Canada releasing visitor numbers saying a record 22.1 million international visitors and $104.9 billion in tourism expenditures in 2019.