Toronto Visitors Generate $10.3 Billion In Economic Impact

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Visitors to Toronto generate an economic impact of $10.3 billion annually, according to a new report prepared for Tourism Toronto and the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Toronto's Visitor Economy: An Economic Catalyst for the City and the Region.

The report says the impact of 27.5 million annual visitors is felt through tax revenue, job creation and growth, as well as overall spend in many industry sectors, making the opportunity to grow the visitor economy an important one. 

The data analysis, produced by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics, highlights that the visitor economy generates tax revenue to the sum of $1.8 billion in taxes for all three levels of government. These funds help pay for essential services and amounts to $1,020 of tax revenue saved for every household in Toronto.   

Visitor spending also has a significant impact on industries and employment in Toronto. 

Nearly 70,000 jobs are supported by visitor spending, with those positions generating $3.1 billion in wages for employees and representing 4.6% of all jobs within Toronto. 

With 10,000 new jobs added over the last five years, jobs supported by visitor spending are growing at a faster rate than the overall economy. 

"The visitor economy is an important pillar in Toronto's diverse economy, and an incubator for the broader economy that fuels industries and creates jobs for residents," said Scott Beck, President & CEO of Tourism Toronto. 

"This is a destination with visitors as diverse as the city itself. From the leisure travellers, to the delegates here for meetings, conferences and events, Toronto's visitor economy is thriving – and when the visitor economy is strong, so is Toronto." 

When looking at the Toronto region, in 2018, the economic impact of the visitor economy reached $17.6 billion, creating more than 121,000 total jobs, and $5.2 billion in wages. 

But the data also found that the benefits of the visitor economy are felt beyond the city of Toronto, as they spend a further $2 billion in communities including Niagara Falls, Ottawa and Muskoka. 

"Tourism is central to business growth. Whether a visitor is coming to our region for business, pleasure, or both, that visit is a critical economic driver that crosses multiple industries," states Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. 

"A tourist visit or conference kicks into action a value chain composed of service, hospitality, and event staging sectors, and then reaches beyond to other sectors including technology, healthcare, finance and education." 

Visitor arrivals to the city have increased 17% over five years, and visitor spending is growing even faster, with a 46% increase from 2013 to 2018. The increase in visitor spending is driven by Toronto's growing share of the international visitor market. 

Toronto's MICE industry is at the heart of a strong visitor economy. Major conventions (over 1,000 delegates) welcome nearly 400,000 business delegates, generating more than $850 million in economic impact. 

To read the full analysis, click here.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.