2011 was a hot year in tourism for Toronto, with the city drawing a record 10 million overnight visitors.
Tourism Toronto says visitor spending in the city reached $4.6 billion in various business and activities, supporting close to a quarter million jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry.
As usual, the Canadian market was the largest source of visitors, which at over 5 million visitors, was a slight increase of 0.6 percent compared to the previous year.
More than three quarters of Canadian visitors came from Ontario, while Quebec and Alberta accounted for the most out of province visitors at 10.2 and 3.3 percent respectively.
For the first time in five years, the city saw a rise in overnight visitors from the U.S. who increasingly tend to be high-value “urban dwellers” that stay longer and spend more, according to Tourism Toronto.
“Toronto has a new lustre among sophisticated U.S. travellers, illustrated by its inclusion as one of Travel + Leisure magazine’s ‘Hottest Destinations in 2012,'” David Whitaker, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto, said in a statement.
Overseas visitors also came in greater numbers, with the largest growth coming from China (34.5 percent), India (13.2 percent), Italy (9.3 percent), and Brazil (9.2 percent).
“Visitors from overseas tend to stay longer and do more while they’re here,” Whitaker said. “They also often visit other parts of Ontario and Canada on the same trip.”
Toronto hotels sold more than 9.1 million hotel room nights in 2011, up 2.8 percent from the previous year. Toronto is currently among the top 10 in occupancy rankings of major North American cities.
TThe city also benefited from business travel and conventions last year, with the trend continuing this year. Toronto will be hosting the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July, which is expected to draw more than 15,000 people.