Please add Tourism Toronto News ( to your safe senders' list.
That way you will receive Tourism Now fully formatted and with images intact every time.


Photo: Aleksandar Antonijevic and Tanya Howard with Artists of the Ballet in The Nutcracker. Photo by Bruce Zinger.


  • Message from David Whitaker
  • G20 coming to Toronto
  • China approves of us
  • Toronto breaks out its best Bollywood moves

Happy Holidays (and Thank You)

On behalf of all of us at Tourism Toronto I want to extend to you our warmest Holiday Wishes. As 2009 comes to a close, we all have felt the impact of a very challenging year. While this has touched just about everyone in the hospitality and meetings industry we can take some encouragement that recent trends continue to signal that the worst may be behind us although more challenges undoubtedly remain in the months and year to come. Perhaps most importantly, we have the benefit of remembering again the resilience of our industry, our partnerships and this very special city and country.

Let me take this opportunity to thank each of you for your continued support of Tourism Toronto, our collaborative efforts to continue to win the business and attract visitors to our destination and the corporate and civic leadership demonstrated by our Board of Directors, the local city, Provincial and Federal governments and our member and industry partners.

As you know, in keeping with the season, we are all quite blessed to have the opportunities we have and I remain quite optimistic that the seeds of our efforts will continue to bear fruit as we move into 2010. We at Tourism Toronto will renew our pledge to you as we ring in the New Year to continue our pledge and our focus on planning, efficient management of resources, professional integrity and our partnerships, including you. Thank you again for all that you do to help keep Toronto one of the most successful destinations in our respective industries.

David Whitaker
President and CEO, Tourism Toronto
In a challenging year for tourism businesses, including hotel occupancy, weekend hotel occupancy over the last year held relatively steady compared with weekday performance, especially during the summer months. In the month of August weekend hotel occupancy actually increased over 2008 by 1.2 percent. This shows that leisure travel held up more strongly than business travel, particularly during our most important months. Until business travel completes its rebound, there will be an increasing dependence on leisure travel and iconic weekend attraction and events visitors.
  Change (%)
  Weekdays Weekends
January -13.4 -5.9
February -11.5 -4.9
March -6.0 -5.8
April -16.3 -8.1
May -18.4 -3.7
June -15.4 -3.7
July -11.7 -3.9
August -9.1 1.2
September -6.9 0.3
October -2.2 0.1
November -5.3 -6.8
YTD -10.4 -3.9
(Courtesy of Smith Travel Research)

Global Leaders Bring the Eyes of the World to Toronto
The federal government recently announced that the G20 summit will be held in Toronto next summer. Tourism Toronto, along with numerous partners, has been working with the Department of Foreign Affairs for months to help ensure a smooth and efficient event. Approximately 30,000-40,000 hotel room nights are expected to be booked for the week of June 22-27. The hotel rooms alone are projected to generate an economic impact of just over $17 million.

Close to 3,000 media from around the world are expected, resulting in top-of-the-newscast attention on Toronto as we begin next summer. The media centre will be located at the Toronto Congress Centre. The logistics behind a massive and high-profile meeting like this are extremely complex, so congratulations are due to everyone involved for their efforts thus far and going forward.

China Agrees to Grant Canada Approved Destination Status
More good news announced by the federal government is that Canada is now on the ADS list for China. The status effectively lifts restrictions on the types of travellers that can now come to Canada from China, and broadens our ability to promote Toronto to this massive market. Once the agreements have been formalized we anticipate a lift in numbers starting in about six months from now.

Toronto Lands International Indian Film Academy Awards
The Ontario government recently announced that Toronto has been chosen as the location for the 2011 International Indian Film Academy Awards. Tourism Toronto has been working with the provincial government and City of Toronto to secure this event, which will draw worldwide attention and visitors, in particular from a market on which Tourism Toronto has recently started to focus. Taking place from June 16-19, the Awards will cap a four-day celebration of everything to do with Indian film, including a film festival and industry forum. The television broadcast of the awards show will reach over 350 million viewers. In addition, the event is expected to use approximately 3,000 hotel room nights over the dates in June.

Holiday Media Relations
TT has been making its media list and checking it twice, hosting numerous holiday and winter-themed press trips.

The Latin American market is particularly keen on the winter experience in Toronto, so hosting a Brazilian press tour from Dec 11-13, was timely. Five high-profile media outlets were in town including major daily newspapers from São Paulo and Salvador.

Taking advantage of the fact that many Mexicans travel to New York City over the holidays, a travel writer and radio broadcaster took the train from NYC to Toronto so he could share this convenient option with his many readers and listeners throughout Mexico.

A group of international media took part in a holiday tour highlighting much of Toronto's luxury product including accommodations, fine dining, holiday festivals and light displays during the holiday season. The group included media from various luxury and lifestyle outlets including Elle Quebec,, Vanidades magazine from Argentina, Cosas magazine from Chile, Brussels Airlines in-flight magazine, b!there and others.

TT hosted La Presse from November 18-20 on a weekend holiday shopping getaway in Toronto. The journalist had a quintessential holiday experience with shopping, a musical, shopping, dining and did we mention shopping? La Presse is a daily French-language newspaper reaching residents of Montreal and surrounding communities with a circulation of over 260,000.

Accolades for FICP Event
Letters and phone calls from meeting planners and suppliers are still arriving in our office to express appreciation for Tourism Toronto and our partners hosting the Financial and Insurance Conference Planners conference November 15-18. The event offered more than 35 industry-focused education sessions organized by experience level, and provided opportunities to exchange best practices and money-saving tips between meeting professionals and the hospitality partner community. A special thank you goes to our host hotel, The Sheraton Centre and to JPdL Destination Management for helping to make this one of the best FICP conferences yet.

Halloweek Press Trip Pays Off
In October, TT hosted a Halloweek press trip that included a U.K.-based journalist, resulting in a two-page article in Bent magazine. Bent is one of the U.K.'s leading monthly magazines geared to the gay market with a print circulation of 60,000.

MPI Holiday Celebration Yields Valuable Networking Time
On December 3, Tourism Toronto's association and corporate teams invited local clients to join them at the "Winter Chic" Holiday Gala put on by MPI Toronto Chapter. It was a spectacular night and a chance to celebrate with industry colleagues and clients. The event was a sell out yet again this year with over 400 in attendance.

Feeding the Media
Tourism Toronto, in partnership with the CTC and OTMP, welcomed seven top U.S. culinary media on a whirlwind Toronto foodie tour December 4-6. The participating freelance food writers and editors represented prestigious outlets such as Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine,, Coastal Living and Entrée.

A Night at the Apollo
Tourism Toronto teamed up with the Westin Harbour Castle recently to attend the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP) fall conference in Daytona, FL. NCBMP is a membership-based association of African American meeting planners and event organizers. Tourism Toronto sponsored the Apollo Night evening and exhibited at the tradeshow. In December 2010 Toronto will host this conference at the Westin Harbour Castle.

Bollywood Carries a Torch for TO
TT's Media Relations in partnership with the CTC, OTMP and the Fairmont Royal York are hosting six journalists from India December 14-18, to showcase Toronto's cultural offerings to this emerging market. Highlights for the group will include checking out Toronto's sites with popular Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar before he completes the Toronto stretch of the Olympic Torch run on December 17.

El Viejo for El Nuevo
As a result of hosting a travel writer on an antiquing trip, El Nuevo Herald has run an article in print and online featuring several of the city's best antique shops and attractions. El Nuevo Herald is the primary Spanish-language newspaper in south and central Florida and has a print circulation of over 80,000 and 28,000 unique monthly visitors.

Business Travellers Think Air Canada Is the Best
Air Canada has been voted the best airline in two categories in an international survey of business travellers by Global Traveler magazine. They have won for Best Airline in North America and Best Airline in Canada. The Global Traveler survey is based on the responses of more than 25,000 readers. These readers are frequent travellers who average 32 round-trip flights a year, with 96 per cent of them travelling in first or business class regularly.

CTC Top Marketer
The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has been awarded the prestigious Marketer of the Year for 2009 by Marketing magazine. Describing the choice of the CTC as Marketer of the Year, Marketing's Managing Editor Rebecca Harris said, "Marketing's editorial team felt 2009 was truly the culmination of the CTC's branding efforts for this country. Its marketing strategy has resulted in a fundamental shift in how travellers from around the world view Canada. It's no longer seen as "beautiful but boring." It's fun, exciting and even a little exotic."

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (500+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Dec 28-Jan 4 National Collegiate Athletic Association - 4th Intl Bowl 40,000
Jan 5-8 Softchoice - Launch 2010 800
Jan 12-14 Canadian Institutes of Health Research 500
Jan 13-18 NA Intl Motorcycle Show 700
Jan 13-17 Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students & Interns 900
Jan 15-23 Nestle Canada - National Sales Meeting 850
Jan 15-24 International Ticketing Association - Annual Conference 1,500

Special Rate for TT Members for Canada-e-Connect
Canada-e-Connect: Canadian Tourism's Online Strategy Conference runs from January 27-29 in Montreal, and is offering a discounted registration fee for Tourism Toronto members. The conference has a packed program of social networking and marketing strategy presentations delivered by a range of experts.

New Member Workshop Coming in 2010
Learn the most effective ways to connect with fellow members and expand your business opportunities by sharing ideas and skills and partnering on new ventures. Watch for details about the workshop in 2010.

Thanks for a Fun Holiday Party!
Last week's holiday party, co-hosted by Tourism Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, was a great success thanks to all the members who attended. The event kicked off with the New Member Reception which was a warm introduction for our latest additions. As well, we were treated to a sneak peek of "We've Been Expecting You" a hospitality excellence program which is a joint initiative of the City of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Toronto, enlivened by the humour of The Second City comedy troupe.

Welcome Tourism Toronto's Newest Members

Flash Forward Festival
Muhtadi International Drumming Festival
The Streetsville Founders Bread and Honey Festival

The Rage

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
  Dec 3-24
Civil Elegies - Soulpepper Theatre
Young Centre - Distillery District

Dec 5-Feb 13
DJ Skate Nights
Natrel Rink - Harbourfront

Dec 6-Jan 10
Annual Christmas Flower Show
Allan Gardens Conservatory

Dec 8-Jan 10
Fiddler on the Roof
Canon Theatre

Dec 12-Jan 3
National Ballet's The Nutcracker
Four Seasons Centre

Dec 16-19
Handel's Messiah - Tafelmusik
Trinity-St. Paul's Centre

Dec 16 & 18-21
Toronto's Favourite Messiah - TSO
Roy Thomson Hall

Dec 17
Schumann and Brahms: Love's Joys and Sorrows
Free concert series - Four Season's Centre

Dec 18-27
Disney on Ice
Rogers Centre

Dec 19
Jay Sean
Hershey Centre

Dec 22
Christmas with Canadian Tenors
Markham Theatre

Jan 2
International Bowl
Rogers Centre

Jan 14-21
Canada's Top Ten 2009 (film festival)
TIFF Cinematheque

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

"This is a real Toronto Nutcracker. The cast of children is more diverse than ever, hailing originally from Cuba, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, Israel and the U.S."

— from The Toronto Star, December 2008




Did you know? The National Ballet's Nutcracker has had over 400 celebrity Cannon Dolls to fire the cannon to begin the battle scene including Mats Sundin, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Browning, Doug Gilmour and Rick Mercer.
We want to hear your feedback on this newsletter. Email us at with your thoughts and suggestions.

Tourism Toronto is the sales and marketing organization for Greater Toronto's diverse and compelling tourism experiences, representing 1,200 member businesses. Visit us at

Tourism Toronto is located at 207 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 1A7.