Welcome to this week's edition of Tourism Now with news and updates from your association. We look forward to seeing you at our holiday event on December 3, which promises to be an excellent networking and social event while collecting money and food for the Daily Bread Food Bank. If you have not yet registered, please click here.
Difficult Economy Affects Major Destinations Across Canada
As the deepening global economic situation squeezes tourism around the world, Toronto and all of Canada are not immune to the effects. Although Toronto's year-to-date hotel occupancy through September remained on par with the prior year, the decline reported in September and recent trends show that we are seeing an impact. Across Canada, other major urban destinations are similarly facing challenges, making targeted sales and marketing efforts all the more important.

City Hotel Occupancy in Sept Hotel Occupancy Year-to-Date through Sept 30
Toronto -4.1% -0.1%
Montreal -5.6% -4.5%
Vancouver -6.7% -1.8%
Canada -4.5% -1.5%

TT Strengthening Relationships With Convention Managers
On November 12, the Capital Chapter of Professional Convention Managers Association (PCMA) convened its Annual Meeting and thanks to Tourism Toronto's sponsorship of the program, TT President & CEO, David Whitaker, had the opportunity to address more than 350 industry heavy hitters, to elevate Toronto's profile in Washington, DC. This event continues to generate significant convention business, so TT will again be a Platinum Sponsor in 2009.

Meanwhile, 600 miles away, the Greater Midwest Chapter of PCMA held its Quarterly Education Conference and TT was there in force. The 300-delegate conference segued into a valuable evening of informal networking where TT developed further leads.

Web Traffic Increases Significantly in November
Two major marketing campaigns - one positioning Toronto as a magical holiday destination and the other promoting Buffalo Bills ticket and hotel packages for the upcoming December 7th game - are attracting attention from potential travellers. TT has experienced a double-digit increase in website traffic over the same period last month: 104,833 visits (86,544 unique visitors) were logged in the first two weeks of November. The campaign's core strategy is to drive consumers to the TT website to learn more about our destination and book their travel directly through TT's newly enhanced booking engine.

Art & Food Featured During Press Trip
Ten members of the media trekked to Toronto to take in the city's art and restaurant hotspots. Culminating in the opening of the transformed AGO and fabulous FRANK restaurant, the group also took in the Gardiner Museum/Jamie Kennedy, ROM/C5, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts/Distillery District, Four Seasons Centre and Entertainment District restaurants. The media came from important markets across the U.S., U.K., Mexico and Canada, including such prominent publications as Global Traveller (circulation 67,000), (959,900 unique visitors), and (1,527,172 unique visitors).

Cautious Optimism Prevails at World Travel Market
Tourism Toronto's Leisure Trade Team, together with six member companies and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership, attended the World Travel Market Exhibition held November 10-14 in London, England. As an exhibitor within CTC's Canada Stand, the Leisure Trade team held meetings with 40 tour operators, airlines, retail travel agents and journalists to discuss and develop 2009 sales and marketing plans. The current impact of the global economy on the U.K. travel industry was a key topic and while trade clients expressed uncertainty about market conditions, the overall sense was cautious optimism going into 2009. Holiday booking patterns in January/February will be amongst the key indicators of future tourism business conditions.

Media Relations Target Florida to Promote NFL Action in Toronto
Radio and television promotions ran throughout October and November on BIG 105.9 FM (South Florida's leading Classic Rock Station with 150,000 listeners), GATER 98.7 FM (Palm Beach's leading Classic Rock Station, with 50,000 listeners), and the NBC South Florida television network (500,000 viewers) that included a live in-studio cooking segment with a noted Toronto chef. The Miami Dolphins play league rival Buffalo Bills on December 7 in Toronto and ticket and hotel packages are being aggressively promoted in south Florida as well as New York state and Ontario.

Canada Jumps 10 Spots to World's Second Most Respected Country Brand
In the space of just two years, Canada jumped from the world's 12th most respected country brand to number two, just behind Australia but ahead of the U.S. The ranking comes from the Country Brand Index by FutureBrand of New York. As Canada's entertainment capital, growing recognition of our national brand helps Toronto compete globally.

Familiarizing High-Value Clients With Toronto's Offerings
TT's U.S. Corporate sales team welcomed a group of key planning clients from Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas along with partners from the CTC. The group had a well-rounded experience with first class wine and food, sight tours around destination attractions including the CN Tower and shopping in Yorkville and unique venues such as The Drake Hotel. This group of planners represents clients from all major business sectors including technology, pharmaceutical and food and beverage and are considering Toronto for the various meetings and events they book around North America every year.

TT Participated in Bienvenue Quebec Annual Marketplace
Approximately 140 tour operators and retail agents handling group business attended the Bienvenue Quebec Marketplace in Montreal and Tourism Toronto was there to meet them. TT's Leisure Trade team, along with 20 members, attended the conference and delegate luncheon co-sponsored by TT and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership (OTMP). A total of 34 meetings took place generating 15 leads and referrals for members. This marketplace offers delegates an excellent networking opportunity with Quebec-based and other North American tour operators.

Chile Gets a Glimpse of Toronto
TT's Media Relations team hosted five top Chilean journalists in the city November 22-24. The press trip is part of an overall promotional push in the Latin American market and also aligns with the launch of Air Canada's new exclusive direct flights between Santiago, Chile and Toronto which begin December 1.

City's High Park Children's Garden Wins Top Prize in David Suzuki Contest
Competing against 580 entries from across Canada, the City of Toronto's High Park Children's Garden was recently declared a winner in the David Suzuki Digs My Garden contest. The Children's Garden was recognized as a pesticide-free garden leader in the community category for Outstanding Ornamentals, which supports gardens that use native species to attract pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Designers Single Out TT's Promotional Piece
Design Edge Canada magazine recently highlighted TT's innovative direct marketing piece to convention client prospects, noting the piece's unconventional production methods and value as a hand-crafted item. Intended to cut through the clutter of mail received by convention planners, limited edition art works were sent to 400 key prospects and focused on showing a unique side of Toronto that will motivate them to see the city as a meeting destination with more to offer than superb facilities.

Toronto's Holiday Story Reaches Montreal Ears
A TT public relations rep appeared on the hour-long Chris Robinson Travel Show which airs in Montreal on the English-language radio station CJAD. With 21,000 listeners plus more on the web, TT used this opportunity to showcase holiday events and promotions throughout the entire Greater Toronto region.

Leisure Trade Participated in OMCA Annual Conference
Tourism Toronto, together with 18 members, recently attended the Ontario Motor Coach Association's Annual Conference at the Doubletree by Hilton, Toronto Airport. Approximately 100 tour operators and retail agents handling group tour business participated in the marketplace. In addition, TT, Dancap Productions and the OTMP co-sponsored a pre-theatre reception followed by a theatre event for clients. Leisure Trade reps met with 38 delegates generating 14 member leads.

Holiday Events Provide Valuable Development Opportunities
Tourism Toronto's Provincial Association and Canadian Corporate teams are hosting meeting planner clients at the 19th annual Meeting Professionals International Toronto Chapter Holiday Gala at the International Centre on Dec 4. This event is one of MPI Toronto Chapter's biggest annual events and attracts more than 300 meeting industry colleagues.

On December 11, Tourism Toronto will join peers in the Washington, DC-based trade group CVB Reps as they host 750 top association meeting professionals at the annual CVB Reps holiday party at the Ritz Carlton.

The 2008 edition of Association Forum's Holiday Showcase will take place on December 16 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. MC&IT reps and four members will be on hand as this event annually draws more than 3,000 meeting professionals from the Greater Midwest area and is the "must attend" occasion of the year in Chicago.

TT Leveraging USTOA 2008
A Leisure Trade team rep will attend the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) conference December 3-6 in Palm Springs, CA. USTOA represents the top names in FIT (independent packaged) travel whose tours and packages encompass the entire globe and move more than 11 million passengers annually and account for annual sales of $9 billion. A series of appointments, client dinners and networking functions will be executed by Tourism Toronto in tandem with representatives from OTMP and the CTC.

TT Helps Showcase Canada's Charms to International Exhibitors
Tourism Toronto and three key members will join the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourisme Montreal and Tourism Vancouver in the Canadian Pavilion at the prestigious International Association of Exhibitions and Events "IAEE EXPO! EXPO! 2008" from December 9-11 in Miami Beach. This three-day exposition annually draws more than 2,000 tradeshow and exhibition managers plus the meeting professionals that provide services to them.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (1000+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Nov 27-29 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
Dec 3-7 CanadaFire - Canadian Youth Workers Conference 1,000

Holiday Reminder
Registration is still open for the annual holiday event on December 3. The event helps to raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank as well as giving you a chance to network with your fellow members. Come get your picture taken with Santa's live (!) reindeer and give a meal to those who are struggling at this time of year. Register now.

No News Is Bad News
TT's Media Relations department is currently gathering news items for its quarterly roundup of major developments in the city and regions for distribution to international and domestic media. We are asking our members to submit items, so if you haven't yet done so, please check the member area of TT's website for criteria and a form.

Membership Has Its Privileges
Visit Member Offers on the website to find out about great discounts offered by your fellow members. If you would like to showcase your business or service with an offer, please contact Nicole Webster in Member Care.

TT's Relax Recharge & Renew program was featured in a Toronto Star article on Saturday, November 22. Click here to read about the experiences of a few of the many families who are benefiting from the program and the generous support of TT members.

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
Now to Jan 4
We Will Rock You
Panasonic Theatre

Nov 27-Dec 7
One of a Kind Christmas Craft Show
Direct Energy Centre

Nov 28-Dec 31
Downsview Park Trail of Lights

Nov 28-30
Canadian Aboriginal Festival
Rogers Centre

Nov 29
Women's Blues Revue
Massey Hall

Nov 29-Dec 31
Cavalcade of Lights
City of Toronto

Nov 30
Mississauga Santa Claus Parade

Dec 2-Jan 4
Christmas Flower Show
Allan Gardens Conservatory

Dec 3-7
BMO Skate Canada Challenge
Hershey Centre

Dec 4
Holiday Sale
Gladstone Hotel

Dec 5-7
Olde Tyme Christmas

Dec 910
TSO - A Very Merry Pops
Roy Thomson Hall

Dec 12-14
Toronto Motorcycle Show 2008

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.
"...the new Art Gallery of Ontario... may catch some fans of the architect off guard. Rather than a tumultuous creation, this may be one of Mr. Gehry's most gentle and self-possessed designs ... its billowing glass facade, which evokes a crystal ship drifting through the city, is a masterly example of how to breathe life into a staid old structure."

— From the New York Times, November 14.


Did you know that world-renowned architect Frank Gehry was born in Toronto and played in Grange Park, the location of the redesigned AGO, as a boy?
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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.