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  • MC&IT Team Surpasses Goal
  • International Bowl in Toronto
  • 2009 Toronto Magazine and Visitor Guide Out Soon
  • Membership Highlights

Welcome to the first edition of Tourism Now for the New Year. We are looking forward to bringing you news of the efforts your association is making, in concert with members and partners, to continue growing Toronto as a top destination for travellers of all types. By staying focused on our business and marketing plans and maintaining a steady course, we anticipate coming through the other side of the current economic difficulties as a strong destination with much to offer.
New Study Reveals Economic Impact of Meetings Industry
Meetings Planners International Foundation Canada recently released the results of an economic impact study about the meetings industry in Canada. It is the first study of its kind in the world using a new concept to capture the spending activity associated with the meetings industry. Typically, studies relating to economic impact include the meetings industry in other industrial sectors so distinct figures that measure the impact this industry segment has on the economy had not been available. However, this new approach shows the direct contribution of meetings activity to Canada's GDP was an estimated $11.3 billion in 2006. This level of contribution to GDP is on par with several other industrial sectors that are considered vital to this country, such as forestry, and demonstrates the important role this sector plays in our national economy.

One of the significant new features of the MPI study is a breakdown of the average direct spending in a destination by different types of delegates:

Average Spending Per Delegate:
Local Inside Province Outside Province Outside Country Overall Average
Conference $128 $326 $763 $1,781 $341
Consumer $266 $372 $383 $1,426 $346
Trade $520 $260 $1,059 $1,799 $742
Incentive $589 $246 $772 $1,398 $555

Meetings Conventions & Incentive Travel Sales Surpass 500,000 Future Room Nights
With a total of 508,396 room nights booked, the Tourism Toronto MC&IT team surpassed its goal of 495,070 total room nights for 2008. This represents an increase of 19 per cent over the previous year. As well, an impressive 14 citywide conventions were secured that account for 196,000 total room nights and translate to 103 per cent of the 2008 goal. Along with many others in the industry, the team has been experiencing challenges on the corporate meetings front with the downturn in the economy, but continues to be aggressive in the associations meeting area, as it tends not to be as severely affected by weak markets.

One of U.K.'s Largest Daily Newspapers Features Toronto
Supported by TT and OTMP, a journalist from the Daily Telegraph recently spent several days in Toronto and wrote extensively about her stay. The print version has a circulation of 843,196, representing advertising-equivalency value of $324,600, while the website receives over 23 million unique visitors a month.

Holiday Marketing Campaign Produces Results
TT's holiday advertising promotions highlighting Toronto as a magical holiday destination built on the success of the 2007 campaign. The multimedia campaign ran starting in early November and exceeded goals on a number of fronts. Results as of December 20 are:
  • The holiday website received 285,076 visits - 229% of goal
  • The luxury holiday site received 4,838 visits - 78% of goal
  • 873 room nights booked - (via Sales Centre & online) - 102% of goal and exceeding last year's totals.
Look for final results in the next issue of Tourism Now.

Argentina Press Trip Begins to Pay Off
The largest daily newspaper in Argentina, La Nacion, recently ran a lengthy feature on Toronto on the cover of its Sunday travel section. This coverage (print circulation: 255,000/readership: 1 million daily; online: 8.5 million unique visitors monthly) is a result of an Argentine press tour Tourism Toronto hosted in October 2008 as it works to grow Toronto’s profile in this important emerging market.

Leisure Trade Attends ABA 2009
A representative from the Leisure Trade team along with approximately 20 member stakeholders will be attending the annual American Bus Association (ABA) marketplace in Charlotte, N.C., January 7-12, 2009. ABA Marketplace is the motor coach and group travel industry's leading business event bringing approximately 650 North American tour companies' buyers and 2,300 tourism product suppliers together for a combination of timed appointments, networking opportunities and business sessions.

Toronto Reaches Coveted Luxury Market
Toronto was featured in a nine-page spread In the November issue of BMW Magazine, following on a visit in September by a freelance journalist that was supported by TT and the City of Toronto. BMW Magazine is translated into 20 languages and distributed to 25 million BMW owners throughout the world. Equivalent ad value for the German, U.K. and French editions totals $377,000 as the story reaches large numbers of affluent travellers.

International Bowl Puts Spotlight on City
Toronto was privileged to once again play host to the International Bowl on January 3, bringing thousands of college football fans from the North East U.S. to the city. The game between the University of Buffalo Bulls and the University of Connecticut Huskies was played at the Rogers Centre. Tourism Toronto's media team orchestrated intensive radio promotions in Buffalo and Connecticut to encourage fans to come to Toronto to the game, and also to use the game as an opportunity to raise more awareness of Toronto. The event also got national exposure on ESPN. A live remote radio broadcast from the Sheraton Centre Hotel on game day further increased the exposure around this event, which positions Toronto as a premiere sports destination.

DeGrassi Fever Nets Media Coverage for Toronto
The desire to bond with his petulant adolescent daughter prompted a freelance journalist to visit Toronto and write about it on the front page of the travel section of the Boston Globe. TT media relations staff assisted with the visit which resulted in $75,000 worth of coverage and reached 503,659 readers in print and 1,200,000 online.

2009 Toronto Magazine and Visitor Guide Hits the Streets
Next week, brand new editions of the Toronto Visitor Guide and Toronto Magazine will start popping up in hotel rooms and display shelves all over the city. New this year is expanded coverage of Mississauga and York Region as well as more trip planning information, including eleven discovery walks. Through an enhanced partnership with the Greater Toronto Hotel Association, the reach of Toronto Magazine (including listings and ads of TT members) has been expanded to even more hotel rooms across the city. This is a partnership forged with the GTHA to allow for advertising to be sold as part of an in-room edition. Alluring photos and informative articles provide a sampling of the iconic features of the city and reveal some lesser known attributes.

Google's Rob Torres Speaking at Canada-e-Connect 2009
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) announced that Rob Torres, Google's Managing Director, Travel, will join the stellar line-up of speakers at Canada-e-Connect 2009. One of the foremost authorities on the intersection of travel and technology trends, Rob promises to be a compelling speaker as he provides Google's view of the existing online travel space as well as future developments in the area. The conference takes place January 21-23 at the Intercontinental in Toronto. More information about the program and registration details can be found here.

Howie Does It in Toronto
A new network television show, Howie Do It, is launching this Friday, January 9 on NBC in the U.S. and Global in Canada. Revolving around comedian Howie Mandel, who was born and raised in Toronto, the show features a team of professional pranksters taking to the streets and performing hoaxes on unsuspecting targets. Several of the first episodes were shot in Toronto, and Tourism Toronto is working with the show's producers to bring even more Toronto presence to the program and to the promotional tour that will support the show.

TAP Your Colleagues
In partnership with the MTCC, Tourism Toronto has developed the Toronto Ambassador Program (TAP). The program is designed to facilitate the positioning of Toronto as a prime meeting destination with international associations who are researching destinations for their annual meetings and conferences. Having a local "ambassador" on the boards and committees of these associations is key to getting considered for future meetings. TT will support and facilitate leaders who are active in their professional communities who would like to showcase Toronto to the world. Anyone who wishes to participate or refer someone to the program can contact Alice Au, Director of Sales, International Meetings and Events at 416-203-3819.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (500+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Jan 9-11 Canadian Baha'i International Development Agency 2,000
Jan 25-27 Loblaw Companies Ltd. 1,500
Feb 8-10 Canadian Nurses Association 700
Feb 18-19 Canadian Lumbermen's Association 500
Feb 23-26 Ontario Real Estate Association 500

2008 Highlights
Partnerships with member businesses are the lifeblood of Tourism Toronto. Sincere thanks to the many members who participated in events and programs this year, led by the Member Care team. Some 2008 highlights include:
  • 2,140 members came to five industry events: two mix and mingles, the AGM, golf tournament and holiday event;
  • 326 members participated in member orientations and other workshops;
  • 184 members joined TT staff on Earth Day to clean up and beautify various parts of the city;
  • As of November 30 TT had successfully recruited 166 new members;
  • As of December 17 TT had 1,256 total members;
  • Record numbers of new first-year members from a variety of member categories attended our industry networking events this year, particularly the mix and mingles and the Holiday party;
  • Member survey results show that the majority of members who attend industry networking events have found them to be beneficial networking opportunities;
  • Through our member events we raised over $14,000 for Tourism Toronto’s scholarships and other Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives;
  • Last year saw increases in the restaurant, neighbourhood BIA and regional member categories.

George Brown Offering Free Assistance for Special Events
Through its Externship Program, George Brown College and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is offering to place Special Events Program students with partners, to help them manage events of all sizes. The experience will help the students get a well-rounded, industry ready education and provide industry partners the chance to mentor students as they enter the hospitality industry.

For more information on becoming an externship partner, contact Daniel Vasquez at or by calling 416-415-5000 extension 2791.

TT Reduces Its Footprint
In 2008, Tourism Toronto purchased flights (for clients, media and staff) that amounted to over 1.56 million kilometres, producing over 480 tonnes of CO2. In order to offset the impact of these flights, TT partnered with Carbon Zero, a Toronto-based carbon offsetter (and member) who follows strict international guidelines. They invest the money into renewable energy projects and other ventures such as retrofitting old commercial and residential buildings with new technologies to reduce the amount of energy used. All of the projects are based in Canada.

City Adds Economic Development Leader
The City of Toronto recently announced that Mike Williams will be joining the City of Toronto as the new General Manager of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism as of February 2, 2009. Mr. Williams comes to the City of Toronto from the Toronto Region Research Alliance, where he was Senior Vice President, Investment Attraction. He has conducted numerous economic development consulting assignments for municipal and provincial governments and agencies, and has served on the boards of directors of the Toronto Board of Trade and Dixon Hall.

Province Names New Deputy Minister of Tourism
Premier McGuinty's office announced that Drew Fagan is the new Deputy Minister of Tourism, effective January 5, 2009. Prior to taking the post, Mr. Fagan was the Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy and Planning, in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Mr. Fagan also served as the Prime Minister's representative to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and summit process.

Tourism Toronto Staff Changes Target Priority Markets
Two recent moves within TT mean increased focus on two areas of growth for the Toronto market. Joseph O'Neill moves to a position with the Meetings, Conventions & Incentive Travel team as Director of Business Development, Student & Youth Travel. As his job title implies, Joseph will be focused primarily on building the Student & Youth group travel sector, which is a segment poised for growth. Mark Crawford has stepped in to the role of Account Director, Corporate, New York and International. Mark's primary responsibility will be to drive additional business opportunities from corporate meeting and incentive clients from international and New York City markets. Both Joseph and Mark bring considerable knowledge to their new roles owing to their years of experience with a diversity of client sectors and markets.

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
Jan 9-11
Canada's Bridal Show 2009

Jan 9-11
Winterfest Synchronized Skating
Hershey Centre

Jan 10-13
Canadian Home Furnishings Market
International Centre

Jan 10-18
International Boat Show
Direct Energy Centre

Jan 14 & 15
TSO - Mozart Jupiter Symphony
Roy Thomson Hall

Until Jan 18
Harvest of Memories - Mexican Days of the Dead
Gardiner Museum

Jan 18-Feb 3
"When Gold Meets Cold": Niagara Ice Wine Festival

Jan 23
Ontario Cycle Tourism Forum
Fairmont Royal York Hotel

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.
"The International Association for Dental Research met in Toronto last week and after 17 years with this Association, I can honestly say no city has ever made us feel so welcome."

— E. Gwynn Breckenridge, Director of Meetings, International Association for Dental Research, whose 4,500 delegates met in Toronto in July 2008.


Did you know that the largest professional convention ever to come to Toronto was won in 2008? The American Institute of Architects Annual Meeting in June 2017, will bring more than 25,000 delegates to Toronto and result in 55,000 hotel room nights and $13 million in spending in the Toronto region.
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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.