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Tourism Now December 21, 2011

As we come to the close of another year, I wish to thank the Board of Directors, Tourism Toronto's members and all of our partners for another year of outstanding cooperation and support. It is not lost on anyone that 2011 remained a challenging time for many of our partners. As we turn the page and move into an anticipated equally challenging 2012, I remain optimistic about the things that fundamentally matter the most – a firm commitment to excellence in customer service, a strong partnership with so many, including you, who will help us achieve our mission, and a wonderful and ever-growing destination that we are all so proud to sell and promote. My sincere wish is that you too will be a part of this ride as we continue our ascent to be one of the most desirable and successful destinations in all of North America, if not the world.

All the best to your families and friends for a safe and joyful holiday season and a prosperous 2012.

David Whitaker signature
David Whitaker
President & CEO, Tourism Toronto


As the chart below illustrates, over the past five years the number of hotel room nights sold in the Toronto region has been increasing steadily, with the only exception being a recession-based dip in 2009. Moreover, current end-of-year estimates for 2011 have Toronto surpassing nine million room nights sold for the first time in history.

Hotel Room Nights Sold (millions)
Hotel Room Nights Sold
Source: Smith Travel Research
*Final estimate based on data through October


A giving celebration
Once again our industry partners and friends came out in festive force for TT's Holiday Celebration on December 20. The best part of the 800+ attendance numbers is the $4,000 dollars raised for the Fort York Food Bank! Hundreds of people in the downtown area rely on the food bank every day, so your generosity will make a real difference. Thank you to all who turned out and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for being such gracious hosts.

Just prior to the Holiday celebration, TT marked the finale of the Torontoland snowman charitable campaign with a CN Tower lighting to show how much was donated to the Starlight Children's Foundation. In dramatic fashion, the Tower was lit up in stages representing $5,000 increments until it reached the top and our goal of $50,000! Many thanks to our friends at the CN Tower for the special lighting.

Toronto a must-see destination for 2012!
Toronto has picked up a major nod going into the new year, being named one of “The Places to Go in 2012” by Travel+Leisure magazine in its January issue. Toronto is the only major North American city on the list. The magazine’s 970,000 monthly readers, as well as a further 1.74 million online readers, will see insider tips on trendy Toronto, featuring “remarkably hip restaurant, fashion and nightlife scenes.”

Relax, Recharge, Renew needs you
Our signature Relax, Recharge, Renew program has, to date, provided 300 weekends for parents and caregivers of special needs children. This couldn’t happen without the generosity of our members! While many of you have already responded to the call for donations for 2012 (thank you!) we still need more to keep the program going. If your business is able to donate certificates for 2-night hotel stays (with breakfast) or restaurant meals, please contact Cathy Riches at 416-987-9077 or

Toronto bedazzles New York
TT’s Corporate Sales team, along with Luxury Hotel partners, hosted a festive and fashionable event at the Alexandria Center in New York City on December 8. Featuring Toronto fashion success stories such as Town Shoes, Foxy Originals, Orangefish and LoveFresh to over 100 meeting planners. Thanks to the participating Luxury Hotel partners’ support for making this a wonderful event.

Mexicans look north for honeymoons
TT’s Media Relations team hosted a food & wine press tour over the summer in which a writer on assignment for Reforma newspaper participated. Her story debuted in the pages of the honeymoon/bridal insert magazine, La Novia, on November 18. Reforma is one of the major daily newspapers in Mexico with a readership of more than 400,000.

National Tour Association
A representative from TT’s International Leisure Trade Sales team, together with 10 member companies, was in Las Vegas, December 5-10 to attend the National Tour Association Convention Marketplace. This annual trade event brings tour operators from across the U.S. and Canada for timed appointments with suppliers. During the marketplace session, staff met with 50 trade clients focused on FIT, student, senior and adult group travel and is following up with leads for 2012 business opportunities.

AOL travels to TO
Five of the City’s Finest is a Western Canadian’s good-natured admission that Toronto “is a restaurant capital worth exploring” after being hosted by TT’s Media Relations team and hotel and restaurant partners on a recent holiday-themed press tour. Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market was also featured in another item on AOL Travel.

Winning sports sessions
On November 24 & 29, TT’s Sports Sales team once again this year conducted interactive Sport Round Table Sessions. Solid participation from hotel members with focused sales efforts in the sport market, and the sport tourism community, made the discussion topics of current sport trends, the competitive landscape and the bidding process lively. All participants deserve an MVP award for making these sessions a success and we look forward to generating more sport event wins for our destination as a result.

Blogs for the holidays
A series of light-hearted pieces “Toronto for the Holidays” on attractions ranging from Victorian Christmas at Black Creek Pioneer Village, to cupcake making at Le Dolci to the Grace Kelly exhibit at TIFF Bell Lightbox, resulted from a TT press trip.

A proper media visit
Following a visit to Toronto last month, Improper Bostonian magazine featured the destination in “Looking Up: Toronto is a city on the rise” in print and online. The recap of the journalist’s weekend visit features the CN Tower EdgeWalk, Porter Airlines, Thompson Toronto, St. Lawrence Market, Kultura, Nadège Patisserie, Gladstone Hotel and the Drake Hotel and gives a nod toward the 2015 Pan Am Games and the story of Steam Whistle Brewery. The magazine reaches 90,000 Boston-based upscale 21- to 45-year-old readers in print and 3,000 online.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (350+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Jan 24-30 Shoppers Drug Mart 2,200
Feb 2 & 3 Target Corporation 600
Feb 8-10 Ontario Bar Association 350
Feb 9-12 Pulse Dance Workshop 1,000
Feb 15-18 Ontario Assoc of Agri Societies 1,000

Calendar of Business Activity is up!
The 2012 Calendar of Business Activity is now available on the TT member web page, setting out upcoming sales missions, trade shows and member information sessions. Many opportunities exist for members to join sales teams on these initiatives and get in front of important clients. Be sure to review the Calendar and contact the relevant TT team member (contact info on last page of calendar) for details.

Welcome new members

Meeting Services
The Burroughes

c5 Restaurant

Test your knowlege of Toronto trivia!

As the Raptors prepare to open their shortened season on December 26, we want to know the name of Toronto’s professional basketball team prior to the Raptors (1946-47).

Please send your answer to The first people to answer correctly will be published in the next issue of Tourism Now.

Last week’s top “winners” (of the glory of being mentioned in this newsletter) were:

Rebecca Kinos-Varo - Hostelling International

Heather Gill - Travellers Assistance Service of Toronto

Kelly Lamondin - Gray Line Toronto

They all knew it was 153 years that Gooderham & Worts operated as a distillery.


We want to hear your feedback on this newsletter. Please contact Cathy Riches via with your thoughts and suggestions.

Tourism Toronto is an industry association of more than 1,200 members established to sell and market the greater Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers around the globe. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture as Regional Tourism Organization 5. For more information please visit

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“The magic of the holiday season, old and new, was everywhere I looked.”

AOL Travel story on Toronto

Event Calendar »

Update your listing »

Tourism Toronto 2010 Annual Report »

To Dec 30
Young People’s Theatre

To Jan 6
Ross Petty’s Wizard of Oz
Elgin Theatre

To Jan 8
Winter Blooms
Allen Gardens and Centennial Park

Dec 10 - Jan 3
National Ballet’s Nutcracker
Four Seasons Centre

Dec 22 & 23
Canadian Tenors - Home for the Holidays
Roy Thomson Hall

Dec 26
Christmas Treats Walk
Toronto Zoo

Dec 28
Raptors Home Opener (vs. Pacers)
Air Canada Centre

Dec 31
New Year’s Eve Celebration
Mississauga Celebration Square

Dec 31
New Year’s Eve Glow Party
Rose Theatre - Brampton

Jan 7
DJ medicineman
Natrel Rink - Harbourfront

For a complete listing of events, please go to our online events calendar.