TORONTO — Tourism in Toronto had a record-breaking year in 2017, with 43.7 million visitors and 15.5 million overnight visits, marking the first time the city has surpassed the 15 million mark.
Recent data also found that visitors to Toronto spent $8.8 billion, the most economic activity ever generated by the region’s tourism industry, representing $700 million more in hotel rooms booked, attractions seen and restaurants experienced than in 2016. The city also recorded 28.2 million same-day travellers.
Another milestone was set last year, with international visits surpassing five million for the first time. Visits from the U.S. grew for its seventh consecutive year, with nearly three million American overnight visitors who spend $1.8 billion. An additional 21 million overnight visitors arrived from overseas markets, China leading the pack with 319,000 followed by the U.K. with 263,000.
Visits from Mexico saw an increase year-over-year. Starting in late 2016, travellers from Mexico no longer require a visa to visit Canada; as a result, visits from Mexico rose by 72% in just one year.
“More and more, world travellers are seeing Toronto as an exciting urban destination, and we’re seeing that with both a record number of visitors and visitor spending,” said Johanne Bélanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “The campaign we launched last year is tapping into that sense of excitement and confidence.”
Canadian travellers continue to visit Toronto more than any other Canadian city. Toronto welcomed 10.4 million overnight domestic visitors, spending $2.6 billion in 2017. Canadians also compose the majority of same-day visitors to the Toronto region.
Hotels in the Toronto region sold 10,113,281 room nights last year. Hotel occupancy rates in 2017 were 76.1%.
Last year saw major events come to the region, including the Invictus Games and the North American Indigenous Games, both of which built off the success and infrastructure from the Pan Am & Parapan Am Games in 2015.