International visitors helping to boost Toronto's tourism sector
The CN Tower looms over the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers as the Rogers Centre's roof is open for the first time in the 2011 MLB baseball season in Toronto Saturday, May 7, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Published Tuesday, February 25, 2014 8:30AM EST
The number of international tourists who spent a night Toronto set a new record last year, peaking at more than 1.4 million, according to Tourism Toronto.
The total -- which doesn't include people visiting from the United States -- was marked by a majority of visitors from the United Kingdom, and a sharp increase in the number visiting from China.
In 2013, approximately 181,000 Chinese tourists stayed overnight in Toronto. That was up 15 per cent from the previous year. Since 2010, the city's destination marketing organization reports a 58 per cent jump in the number of visitors from China.
"Our growth strategy focuses on high-value visitors from major U.S. cities and key overseas markets such as the U.K., Germany, China, Japan and Brazil," Tourism Toronto president and CEO David Whitaker said in a statement released Tuesday.
The number of Americans choosing to spend the night in Toronto also increased. Of the 13.69 million overnight tourists who stayed in the city last year, 2.18 million of them were from south of the border, marking a third straight year of growth from the U.S. market.
Overall, however, the majority of tourists in Toronto were from other parts of the country. According to Tourism Toronto, Ontario's capital remains Canadians' most-visited destination in Canada. But the tourism body notes that international visitors tend to stay longer and spend more during their stay.
"In 2013, overseas visitors stayed in paid accommodations an average of 4.5 nights per trip," Terry Mundell, president of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association, said in the statement. "That reprepents over $1 billion in spending in the destination, and is a significant contributor to jobs throughout the region."
Total visitor spending last year, including same-day trips, totalled $6.54 billion in Toronto.