From giant inflatable ducks to international sports and culture events, if it felt like there were more tourists flocking to Toronto last year — that’s because there were.
It was a record-setting year for Tourism Toronto, with 43.7 million visitors to the 6ix, spending nearly $9 billion. Tourism Toronto says it’s the most economic activity ever generated by the region’s tourism industry.
“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,” Johanne Bélanger, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto, said in a statement.
While visits from the U.S. grew for the seventh consecutive year, tourists from six other countries jumped by double digit percentages from 2016.
Mexico and Argentina had the biggest jump with 72 per cent and 37 per cent over the previous year.
It wasn’t just tension with the current U.S. government that saw Mexican travellers flocking to the Great White North. At the end of 2016, the federal government removed the visa requirement for Mexican travellers to visit Canada.
But Toronto isn’t just an international draw. Canada’s largest city is a favourite destination spot for fellow Canucks.
Tourism Toronto said Canadian travellers continue to visit Toronto more than any other Canadian city, with 10.4 million overnight domestic visitors, spending $2.6 billion last year. Canadians also made up the majority of same-day visitors to the Toronto region.
Last year the city drew international attention when it hosted the Invictus Games where Royal waters flocked to catch a glimpse at the first public appearance of Prince Harry and his now fiance, Meghan Markle.
And it isn’t just huge, annual events like TIFF and Toronto Pride bringing millions of people to the city. Businesses and organizations are generating millions for the city by bringing their conferences and events to the downtown core.
Tourism Toronto says 951 meetings and events were held in the city, which brought in 400,000 delegates and generated spending of $634 million.
Plus there was the duck.