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Toronto’s Visitor Economy: 2018

Assessing the economic impact of visitor spending in the City of Toronto and the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area.

Inside an airport

Tourism Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade, engaged Tourism Economics to assess the economic impact of visitor spending in the City of Toronto (“Toronto”) and the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (“Toronto Region”) based on 2018 data and analysis.

The analysis is organized into nine total sections, but more broadly into eight main parts:

  1. Report Highlights – reviews major findings
  2. Key Figures – highlights major statistics in the tourism sector
  3. Local Visitors Trends – analyses recent trends in visitation, spending, and the accommodation sector
  4. Economic Impacts – reports the amount of economic activity sustained by visitors
  5. Figures in Context – places economic impact figures in perspective
  6. Other Ontario Impacts – reviews the impact that Toronto visitors have outside the Toronto Region
  7. Appendix A: Regional Analysis – details visitor trends and economic impacts in the Toronto Region

Understanding the Economic Value of Visitors to Toronto 

Every year, 27.5 million people visit Toronto. Those visitors, as diverse as the city itself, fuel the visitor economy. It’s a term much broader than tourism. It encompasses the direct visitor spending in the destination and the indirect and induced economic activity that stems as a result. The visitor economy matters. 

When more visitors come to Toronto, visitor spending increases. That means more spending on hotels, restaurants, attractions, and transportation. It’s more money into the economy that becomes a catalyst for even more spending – fueling local businesses and the entire supply chain that is affected by the goods and services they provide. It creates jobs, generates tax revenue, and drives growth in the overall economy for the city, the region, and the province. Whether someone visits Toronto for leisure or business, the visitor economy has a broader impact on economic development, influencing foreign direct investment decisions and the growth of our innovation economy. 

Toronto is seeing a record number of visitors and an even faster rate of growth in visitor spending. It comes at a time when Toronto’s reputation as a destination for technology, finance, education, and healthcare is growing. As Toronto takes its next step towards becoming a global destination, understanding the impact of Toronto’s visitor economy is the key to unlocking its potential. 

Tourism Toronto and the Toronto Region Board of Trade have partnered to produce this landmark report about the impact of Toronto’s visitor economy. This report emphasizes what both organizations have long believed – that visitors to Toronto are a powerful economic driver that fuels the overall economy. It’s an export business that brings in new money and generates even more spending. 

This report provides a comprehensive overview of tourism-generated economic impact, employment, wages and taxes. It highlights key trends and insights and delves into how visitors to Toronto impact cities and communities outside the region.

Read 'Toronto's Visitor Economy'

Get insights on visitor spending in the Toronto region.
Pearson Airport terminal.