TORONTO — Tourism Toronto and Business Events Toronto announced that a record 26 citywide conventions were held in 2018. The total tops the previous record of 18 citywide conferences set in 2017.
“Business events are a thriving and vital part of our tourism industry that contributes $33 billion in direct spending in Canada, directly employs 229,000 people and $19 billion of GDP,” says Heidi Welker, chair of Meetings Means Business Canada. “Great things happen when people come together, whether in a meeting room, on a convention floor or out experiencing a destination. Our industry, within Canada and in Toronto, excels at bringing people together in an exceptional way.”
Tourism Toronto and Business Events Toronto — its meetings, conferences and events unit — defines a citywide convention or event as one that occupies 1,100 hotel rooms on peak night, a minimum of two hotels for delegates and the use of a convention centre or event complex.
According to Business Events Toronto, 500,208 delegates attended 1,025 events hosted in 2018, leading to $565 million in economic spending.
“The record number of citywide conferences speaks to Toronto’s place as the hub for innovation, technology, finance and business within Canada,” says Johanne Bélanger, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “Our team at Business Events Toronto taps into Toronto’s strength in these key economic sectors and uses the vibrancy of Canada’s downtown to attract these major events to the region.”
Next year could be an even stronger year for citywide conferences and the hotels that house their delegates. In 2019, Jehovah’s Witnesses will be hosting its 2019 international convention in Toronto, bringing an expected 45,000 people to the city.