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Photo: Ontario Tourism, 2009


  • Two major professional associations choose Toronto for upcoming meetings
  • Ontario tourism study released
  • Toronto-region sports community comes together

The signs point to a bumpy ride for tourism and related industries for 2009, but many analysts are predicting a turnaround to begin in the final quarter of the year. While visitor levels held steady through most of 2008, the early results from this year confirm that our business in Toronto will also feel the pinch of the global economic downturn.

While we have currently reduced our budgets by 10 per cent for the first half of the year, your association continues to market and sell aggressively - a necessity at times like these. Convention sales for future years are strong, providing a solid foundation of business on which to build. Plans are also underway with the Marketing Committee to launch one of the most aggressive summer/shoulder season campaigns ever.

According to Smith Travel Research the number of hotel rooms available in Toronto rose by 1.8 per cent in 2008 to a total of more than 35,000 rooms. The west and north/east areas saw a greater increase than the downtown core.

Hotel Room Supply
  2007 2008 Change
Toronto 34,680 35,300 1.8%
Downtown 17,190 17,330 0.8%
North/East 8,260 8,500 2.8%
Airport/West 9,240 9,480 2.6%

National Medical Association Chooses Toronto for 2013
At a recent event held to mark the opening of an exhibition in honour of Black History Month, Tourism Toronto announced two significant convention wins. The National Medical Association has chosen Toronto for its convention in July 2013, and will confirm that choice at its upcoming House of Delegates meeting in March. With more than 5,000 delegates and over 9,000 hotel room nights, this meeting is projected to generate $8.9 million in direct spending in Toronto. The Black Nurses' Association has also confirmed it will hold its 2009 Annual Meeting in Toronto, bringing more than 1,000 delegates this July.

More Black History Month Opportunities
Black History Month affords a chance for Tourism Toronto to tap into a growing tourism area both in leisure and business travel. As a result, TT's media relations team hosted a group of journalists for an active five days in February exploring relevant historical and cultural attractions. The African-American media outlets represented on the trip included Urban Spectrum, Black Meetings & Tourism, GlobeTrotter TV, 107.9 WRNB Tonya’s Travel Tips and the Chicago Defender, which is the largest and oldest African-American newspaper in the U.S.

The MC&IT team welcomed several meeting planners from select organizations who are considering Toronto for upcoming meetings, such as Deloitte Management Services LP and the National Association for Black Journalists, and the group was shown the best the city has to offer convention visitors, from hotels to convention sites to restaurants and musical theatre.

Tourism Toronto Caught the Spirit
At the Religious Conference Management Association's recent "Catch the Spirit" World Conference & Exposition, a Tourism Toronto sales team identified valuable business opportunities within the religious meetings sector. In a survey conducted by the RCMA, religious meeting planners recognized that the current economic challenges would have an impact on all areas of their meetings. However, this sector is more optimistic than others in the meeting market, due to their sense that there is a greater need to gather and meet during challenging times. Another key item that came out of the conference is that The World Religious Tourism Association has declared 2009 The Year of Faith Tourism with the objective of increasing awareness of this $18 billion industry.

City of Creativity
The TT media relations team recently secured a five-page spread in Global Traveler focused on the cultural renaissance in Toronto. Written for executive business travellers, Global Traveler focuses on the business and lifestyle interests of that exclusive and difficult-to-reach demographic and has a print circulation of over 75,000. "City of Creativity" can be found online here.

Provincial Report Calls for Tourism Investment
The Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study was presented to the industry last week. The report, led by former Minister of Finance, Greg Sorbara, outlines a recommended roadmap for tourism investment, development and marketing over the coming years, toward a goal of doubling tourism receipts across the province by 2020. Copies of the report, titled "Discovering Ontario" are available at

Delta Chelsea Hotel Receives Energy & Environment Award
The Delta Chelsea Hotel was recently selected to receive the 2008 Energy & Environment Award from the Hotel Association of Canada. The award is given to a lodging property that has developed a culture of integrating environmental management practices that improve everyday operations and the bottom line, while maintaining quality service and meeting guest expectations. The Delta Chelsea, through its strong partnership with Turtle Island Recycling, has exceeded both industry standards and municipal targets in landfill diversion. A special note of congratulations goes to Delta Chelsea General Manager, Josef Ebner.

Chinese Tour Operators Visit Toronto Hotels
Tourism Toronto took advantage of the festive atmosphere during Chinese New Year to conduct site inspections at several Toronto hotels for key local Chinese receptive tour operators. A total of 18 local Chinese tour operators visited seven member hotels, providing hotels the opportunity to educate tour operators on the individual properties as well as showcase the unique facilities and services they offer.

Tourism Toronto Suits Up for Sports Summit
Tourism Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Sports Council, will host the 2009 Sport in Our Community Summit on Saturday, February 28 at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. This is the second such summit and this year's focus will be on Toronto's bid for the 2015 Pan American Games and what it means for the sports community. The sold-out event will feature talks by the Honourable David Peterson, Chair of the 2015 Pan American Games Bid Committee and David Whitaker President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. Attendees will learn more about the role TT plays in bidding and hosting events in the city and have an opportunity to network with Toronto's sports industry leaders.

Experient Envision Conference
TT continues to work with the Canadian Tourism Commission to deepen its strategic partnership with Experient. Experient is a meeting and event service provider which, in 2007, managed more than 5.5 million hotel room nights for their more than 1,000 client organizations. From March 2-5, TT's U.S. Mid-West Association team, along with several members, will represent the Toronto community at the Experient Envision Conference in Kansas City, MO. This conference is one of two annual events that Experient hosts and is focused on building relationships between Experient team members and their supplier partners.

Tourism Toronto Housing Service Update
In the interest of streamlining operations and increasing efficiency, Tourism Toronto recently decided to outsource its housing services. As part of the service package provided to the many conventions that choose Toronto, TT for many years had dedicated staff available to give assistance to delegates with hotel bookings during their stay. TT will continue to provide exemplary service to convention visitors during the transition and will update clients and members about the new process once it's fully in place. TT wishes to recognize Lindsay Cowell's 20 years of providing exceptional client housing service and we look forward to her continuing to play a valuable role on the MC&IT Client Services team at Tourism Toronto.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (500+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Feb 18-19 Canadian Lumbermen's Association 500
Feb 23-26 Ontario Real Estate Association 500
Feb 25-26 Ontario Cattlemen's Association 500
Feb 26-Mar 1 BMO Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships 5,000
Mar 4-14 World Baseball Classic 5,000

Have you visited recently? One of the main components of the Tourism Toronto website is member products and services. Don't forget to add your logo and a photo to showcase your listing on the website.

See Our Members Now
Gorgeous images are key to promoting a destination. Help TT sell the city and your business by sending us your most inspiring images to stock our photo bank. Please email your high resolution images in JPG or EPS, to Audree in Creative Services at or mail a CD-ROM of images to:
Tourism Toronto
207 Queens Quay West,
Suite 405
Toronto, ON
M5J 1A7

Member Orientation
All new members are welcome and encouraged to attend a member orientation session. Learn about how your association works and how it can work for you. The next session is March 11, 2009. You can sign-up via the member events page on the TT site.

Andrew Gajary has been appointed as the General Manager of the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville as of January 5, 2009. Mr. Gajary has been with InterContinental for the past 12 years and started his career at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. before moving on to Budapest, Hungary. Most recently he held the position of Hotel Manager in Chicago. Tourism Toronto welcomes Mr. Gajary to his new role and new home!

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
Extended to Feb 28
City of Toronto

To Mar 29
Jersey Boys
Toronto Centre for the Arts

Feb 10-Mar 14
The Color Purple
Canon Theatre

Feb 18, 19 & 21
Roy Thomson Hall

Feb 19-Aug 9
Clay Canvases
Gardiner Museum

Feb 19-22
Bloor Yorkville

Feb 20-Mar 1
National Home Show
Direct Energy Centre

Feb 20-22
Outdoor Adventure Show
International Centre

Feb 20
An Evening With Uncle Val
Living Arts Centre

Feb 21
Luis Mario Ochoa y Cimarron
Lula Lounge

Feb 27-Mar 1
Toronto Golf & Travel Show

Mar 2
Air Canada Centre

Mar 4
National Ballet of Canada

Mar 7-11
World Baseball Classic
Rogers Centre

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.
"There is only one hockey town: Toronto."

— "A Night in Toronto on Hockey's Hallowed Turf," The Washington Post, January 4, 2009


Did you know? The Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club is the official name for Toronto's NHL team? This accounts for why they're commonly called the "Maple Leafs" instead of the grammatically correct "Maple Leaves."
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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.