Toronto welcomes record year

Toronto took another step forward as a
global tourism destination in 2007, welcoming a record 10,660,000 overnight
visitors.Tourism Toronto’s marketing and sales programs focused on
attracting high-value customers, including overseas travellers and major
conventions, helping offset formidable challenges such as new passport
rules and the rising Canadian dollar.

  “Toronto is showing its resilience as a global destination,” said David
Whitaker, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “In a year when the
forecasts started out rather dire, in the end more visitors came, hotel
occupancy rose and our convention business continued to be a bedrock for
today and the future.”

  In 2007 visitors to Toronto spent more than $4.5 billion on hotels,
restaurants, attractions, performing arts, shopping, taxis and meeting
facilities, illustrating the continued importance of tourism as an economic
driver across the region. Tourism to Toronto supports the employment of
nearly 100,000 people.

  Hotel occupancy in 2007 across the Toronto region rose to 68.3 per
cent, the highest level since 2000. Among the top 30 U.S. and Canadian
cities, Toronto moved up three spots to 13th in hotel occupancy and was the
seventh-fastest growing destination in 2007 in occupancy.

  Overseas visitors remain an important area of growth for Toronto.
Mexico and China were the fastest-growing international markets at
approximately 15 per cent annual growth each. Toronto’s largest overseas
market is the U.K., which grew by two per cent in 2007 to approximately
280,000 visitors. Tourism Toronto has active sales programs in all three of
those markets, along with other target international markets such as
Germany, South Korea and Japan.

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  “We continue to reach more and more high-value travellers who come to
Toronto to enjoy the finer things. In marketing our destination we play to
Toronto’s great strengths - above all its diversity of experiences found in
festivals, cuisine, arts and hotels,” said Mr. Whitaker.
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