Welcome to this week's edition of Tourism Now with news and updates from your association. Like you, we are all watching closely as the economy moves through this difficult period, and what is clearly a challenging point in the tourism cycle. Tourism Toronto's priorities and activities, including the examples below from the past two weeks, remain focused on building both short-term travel through initiatives like our holiday campaign, as well as setting a strong foundation for future business through convention sales.
New Yorkers Are Frequent Return Visitors to Toronto
Tourism Toronto conducted a new survey* at Pearson Airport over the summer, asking visitors as they left Toronto about their experiences and impressions of the city and their likelihood of returning. One market segment of particular interest is travellers from New York City, where Tourism Toronto is focusing more marketing efforts to grow our destination's profile. There are more than 20 daily direct flights from New York City to Toronto, including both Pearson and City Centre Airports, so the New York market remains a priority growth opportunity. The survey results show a high level of repeat visits among New Yorkers and an overall strong view of Toronto as a cosmopolitan destination.

Among New York City residents surveyed:
  • 63% were in Toronto for pleasure, including visits to friends and relatives. 23% were here for business and 14% for other reasons.
  • 46% of business travellers extended their stay to enjoy the destination
  • 66% had previously visited Toronto in the past two years
  • 69% intend to visit Toronto again in the next two years
In general, New Yorkers rated Toronto 7.7 out of 10 as an overall destination.

*Thanks to Ryerson University and the GTAA for their support in this project.

Making CONTACT With New York Media
Tourism Toronto hosted 100 media and a select group of high-end travel agents in New York City on November 6, taking some of Toronto's compelling arts and culture story directly to travel influencers in this vital market. TT partnered with the Contact Photography Festival (the world's largest photography festival, in Toronto every May 1-31) to fill the room with photographic art and bring some of Contact's top artists to give media a memorable Toronto experience. With the grand reopening of the Art Gallery of Ontario also days away, TT partnered with the AGO to provide media a sneak peak inside the new AGO to inspire them to visit and write about this important new development in Toronto.

Mississauga-Airport Area Scores Field Hockey Championships
Tourism Toronto's Regional Sport Sales Team landed Field Hockey Ontario's Under-16 National Championships in 2009. Six member hotels in the Mississauga-Airport area had the opportunity to showcase their facilities during site visits arranged by TT in late October. The event will be held at the Hershey SportZone in Mississauga and is expected to generate 695 room nights.

TT Leverages Halloweek Fun
The media relations team hosted an influential group of journalists who write for publications such as OUT Traveler, Imperio magazine in Argentina, Gay List Daily and the Miami Herald for several days of culture, cocktails and costumes during Halloweek. The expected media stories this effort will generate advance TT's goal to attract more tourists from the important gay travel market.

Ontario Science Centre Wins Prestigious International Award
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) awarded the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for visitor experience in a large institution to the Ontario Science Centre for the creation of the Weston Family Innovation Centre. The award presented at the ASTC 2008 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA, is given to institutions showing extraordinary leadership in developing experiences that not only enhance the performance of their own institutions, but also significantly advance the mission of science-technology centres and museums.

Convention Attendance Exceeds Expectations
Toronto hosted the North American Spine Society's 2008 annual meeting in late-October, with attendance of 7,200 delegates at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, beating last year's attendance of 6,000 delegates in Austin, Texas. Tourism Toronto and the MTCC also welcomed 4,150 delegates to the Canadian Cardiovascular Society's congress in October, the first of four Canadian Cardiovascular congresses booked by TT over the next 10 years. The economic impact of these two citywide conferences combined was $48,230,000.

U.S. Meeting Planners Rate Toronto Tops
Ignite magazine, a new trade magazine for the meetings industry, reported in its premier issue that Toronto ranks tops in Canada for conventions, according to Watkins Research. The survey is based on the perceptions of 600 top U.S. meeting planners. Toronto also ranked in the top five overall in North America. Well-suited hotels and easy accessibility around the city were two of the reasons for the top result, reported in Ignite magazine's premier issue.

TT Hits the Road
TT's meetings and convention sales team has been busy representing Toronto in Boston, New York City and Atlanta through an ongoing partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission. On October 20 more than 140 potential clients were enticed to an evening of Canadian-themed cuisine and conversation with Richard Bertram, VP of WestJet. October 22 saw the team hosting a dinner for 20 client prospects at the Wine Cellar in Boston where the intimate setting facilitated a valuable exchange of information. On October 29 more than 40 client prospects in Atlanta enjoyed a reception and presentation on new industry technology by well-known speaker Jeff Rasco, CMP.

Exhibition Place Wins Platinum Facility Management Award
The Recycling Council of Ontario recently honoured City of Toronto's Exhibition Place with a Platinum Facility Management Award. The 24-year awards tradition honours those who demonstrate excellence and leadership in the creation of waste reduction and diversion initiatives and are integrated into the celebration of Waste Reduction Week in Canada when communities across the country are encouraged to promote the 3Rs' principles.

Toronto Plans for FICP
TT's Corporate sales team attended the Financial and Insurance Conference Planners conference on November 8th to build buzz and showcase Toronto as the host destination for the 2009 FICP Annual Conference. Each year this conference welcomes 750 key planners and hospitality partners who specialize in working with financial and insurance meetings, events, and incentives. Toronto looks forward to welcoming this significant group in November 2009, a meeting secured in June 2006.

Christmas Comes Early
Putting Toronto at the top of the list of holiday destinations was the goal of a press trip in early November. Nine writers from the U.K., U.S., Argentina, Mexico and Canada, writing for such outlets as the National Post,, Destinations magazine and Chatelaine dined, visited top attractions all over the region, stayed over, shopped then shopped some more.

Sporting Life
Sports conferences were the focus for two recent sales initiatives by the MC&IT team. The TEAMS (Travel, Events and Management in Sports) 2008 conference held in Pittsburgh in October brought together 1,400 sport commissions and rights holders. TT, the only Canadian destination exhibiting, conducted one-on-one appointments with 24 sports rights holders, resulting in 11 solid prospects representing 7,675 potential room nights.

Tourism Toronto exhibited for the first time at the 121st American Athletics Union Conference in Mexico where approximately 700 delegates from across the U.S. took part in the week-long event. Meetings with key decision makers at the AAU National Office laid the groundwork for future development in the lucrative sports-event market.

AGO is Back
The Transformed Art Gallery of Ontario is Toronto native Frank Gehry's most recent building and his first in Canada. Hallmarks of his AGO design include dramatic sculptural staircases, the warmth of Douglas fir, and an extensive use of glass to infuse the galleries with natural light and connect the city and the Gallery in provocative new ways. The new AGO has 50 per cent more exhibit space and will allow much more of the Gallery's fine collections to be displayed, in addition to its new restaurant, FRANK, and a dramatic new gallery store. The AGO reopens Friday, November 14 with extended hours on the 14th and 15th, free admission until the 16th, and many exciting programs.

A Toronto First
Being able to hop on the TTC to see regular season NFL action isn't something that happens every day in Toronto. Division rivals Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills will be giving it their all for this crucial game and TT is aggressively promoting weekend packages for the game. TT members can also purchase game tickets through TT. Take a client or take a kid but be sure to take in the action at Rogers Centre on December 7.

Germany Beckons
Toronto is in a unique position as the only city destination participating in a series of major press meetings in Germany. The CTC has organized media events in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich from November 17-22 with approximately 25 journalists from a range of high quality media outlets in each city. Tourism Toronto's media relations specialist will have multiple opportunities to pitch story ideas and product news during the visit to this major market.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (800+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Nov 15-16 Toronto Olympic Club 850
Nov 15-17 Ontario Track & Field Association 850
Nov 22-Dec 1 College of Family Physicians of Canada 2,000
Nov 29-Dec 4 Public Health Agency of Canada 1,100
Dec 1-9 BMO Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships 2,000

Tourism Toronto Unveiled
If you're interested in getting the most out of your membership and learning about everything your association can do for you, we invite you to attend a member orientation session. Both new and "seasoned" members are welcome. The next session is November 19 and there is still space. Register now and all will be revealed.

Resources 'R' Us
Need tourism stats for a report? Want to be up on the latest trends and outlooks? Visit the Resource Library page in the member section of TT's website, for this and other useful industry resources.

It's Never Too Soon to Plan to Party
Registration for our fabulous, festive Holiday Party is open now. It's your chance to share cheer and business cards on December 3, so please join us at the decked out MTCC starting at 4:00 p.m. Details and registration form are here. The Daily Bread Foodbank will also benefit from your holiday spirit.

Walter Oster, Chairman of the Board of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), has been selected as this year's winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Government. The award from the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership recognizes Mr. Oster's distinguished service specifically to Ontario's tourism sector and also to the community at large. Tourism Toronto congratulates Mr. Oster on this prestigious recognition.

Amy Rosen, widely respected culinary writer whose weekly column appears in the National Post, was the first winner of the Tourism Toronto Travel Media Award. The award was announced at the Travel Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) annual conference on Nov 4. TT sponsors the media award to recognize top travel writing, as selected by the TIAC panel of judges.

The Tourism Toronto Award
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility Program TT is helping develop the next generation of talent in our industry. Earlier this year TT established scholarships and awards in tourism and hospitality at nine southern Ontario colleges and universities. In October, two more recipients were announced from Humber College: Rachel Campbell studies Hospitality Management and Megan Gayda is in the Hospitality Tourism Operations Management program. Later this month, Centennial College will give the Tourism Toronto Award to Natalie Buckley and Bindu Shah.
Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
Oct 4-Jan 4
The Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig
McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Nov 7-16
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Direct Energy Centre

Nov 10-16
Toronto International Flamenco Festival

Nov 13-15
NuJazz Festival

Nov 14
Daniel Lanois
Massey Hall

Nov 14-17
The Culture Congress
Harbourfront Centre

Nov 16
Santa Claus Parade

Nov 16-18
Fall Motor Home and Trailer Show
International Centre

Nov 17-22
Artisans at the Distillery
Distillery District

Nov 19
Knight for Hope, feat John Pizzarelli Quartet & Woody Herman Orchestra
Living Arts Centre

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.
"Toronto can just seem like a dream city. I am sure it has its problems but blimey they do stuff right over there."

Birmingham Mail (UK) newspaper, October 22.


Did you know that Toronto has 3 million publicly owned trees? They live in 1500 parks and 8,000 hectares of ravines, valleys, woodlots and parks. Gentlemen, start your rakes.
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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.