Toronto had a record-breaking year for tourism in 2017, with 43.7 million visitors travelling to the region and spending $8.8 billion.
For the first time, overnight visits in Toronto surpassed the 15 million mark (15.5 million), joined by 28.2 million same-day travellers. The $8.8 billion – the most economic activity ever generated by the region's tourism industry -- represents $700 million more in hotel rooms booked, attractions seen and restaurants experienced than in 2016.
Another milestone was set in 2017, with international visits surpassing 5 million for the first time. Visits from the U.S. grew for the seventh consecutive year, with nearly 3 million American overnight visitors, spending $1.8 billion.
An additional 2.1 million overnight visitors arrived from overseas markets led by China (319,000) and the U.K. (263,000). Overseas spending accounted for more than $2 billion for the first time, increasing the 2016 spend by $231 million.
Visits from Mexico saw an increase year-over-year. Starting in late 2016, travellers from Mexico no longer require a visa to visit Canada. As a result, visits from Mexico rose by 72% in just one year.
"More and more, world travellers are seeing Toronto as an exciting urban destination, and we're seeing that with both a record number of visitors and visitor spending," said Johanne Bélanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto.
"The campaign we launched last year is tapping into that sense of excitement and confidence. Videos from that campaign – 'The Views are Different Here' – have now been seen nearly 43 million times."
Canadian travellers continue to visit Toronto more than any other city in the country. Toronto welcomed 10.4 million overnight domestic visitors, spending $2.6 billion in 2017.
Hotels in the Toronto region sold 10,113,281 room nights last year. The occupancy rate in 2017 was a very healthy 76.1%.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.