Toronto topped the overall scoring in the 2015 Safe Cities Index published in early February 2015 by the EIU, a unit of The Economist magazine. It is based on a ranking of 50 major cities by a new study of safety along with past rankings based on liveability and cost of living.
These findings come as Toronto set new records in tourism. Tourism Toronto announced that the city welcomed 14.3 million overnight visitors in 2014, and saw the highest number of overseas visitors ever in the destination. Additionally, Toronto led the country in hotel occupancy and hotel room nights sold.
“The world is continuing to take notice of Toronto’s emergence as an exciting leisure travel and meetings hot spot,” said David Whitaker, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “This is a sophisticated city with a growing reputation and people want to come see for themselves what all the buzz is about. Our marketing 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.”
The record number of hotel room nights sold in the Toronto region in 2014 was 9.45 million, and translated to 71.4 per cent hotel occupancy in 2014. Both of these figures were the highest of all major cities in Canada.
Total visitor spending, including same-day trips, was £3.3 billion in the Toronto region across a range of businesses and activities including accommodations, attractions, restaurants, taxis, retail and entertainment. The tourism and hospitality sector employs 315,000 people across the Toronto region in a wide range of businesses that rely on inbound tourism.
Toronto is the most-visited destination in Canada by fellow Canadians with 10.5 million overnight domestic visits in 2014. These visits generated spending of $2.44 billion in the destination. In addition, Canadians make up the majority of the 25.5 million same-day visitors the destination received.
“The outlook is not without its challenges, but there has never been a more exciting time to visit Toronto – from new attractions, the new Queens Quay promenade, UP Express, new and renovated hotels, and a summer-long line-up of festivals, events and special promotions,” said Mr. Whitaker.
Conventions and events
Toronto’s convention sector also reached new heights in 2014 by booking a record number of future hotel room nights for conventions and meetings. In 2014, Tourism Toronto and its partners confirmed 665 future meetings and conventions including 13 major conventions to be hosted at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In all these meetings will bring 463,400 attendees to the Toronto region, generating 640,345 hotel room nights.
During 2014, Toronto hosted such global events as the International Astronautical Federation with 2,500 attendees from around the world, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (4,500 attendees), Million Dollar Round Table (7,000 attendees), Lions Club International (15,000 attendees) and Amway India (4,000 attendees).
The impact of meetings is far-reaching as many international delegates extend their stay, bring family with them to the convention and often are inspired to return again for a pleasure trip to explore the region.