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Industry Briefs
Toronto Reaches New Record In Meeting Industry

Toronto's convention sector reached new heights in 2014 by booking a record number of future hotel room nights for conventions and meetings, Tourism Toronto announced recently. In 2014, Tourism Toronto and its partners confirmed 665 future meetings and conventions that will bring 463,400 attendees to the Toronto region, generating 640,345 hotel room nights.

"People are increasingly choosing Toronto as an international destination and that includes meeting planners and major event organizers who recognize the outstanding experience and global reputation Toronto delivers," said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto.

During 2014, Toronto hosted such global events as 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) and Lions Club International (15,000 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.

"Conventions, meetings and events are a mainstay of the tourism economy in Toronto providing solid business for the region and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs," said Whitaker. "Conventions generate spending on a range of businesses including hotels, restaurants, retail, taxis and convention centers.  In addition, a significant number of services benefit from the meetings industry such as audio-visual, entertainment, attractions and transportation."

In 2014, meetings and conventions injected over $550 million into the local economy. There are over 300,000 people employed in tourism and hospitality in the Toronto region.

Of the meetings booked in 2014, 16 are considered "major meetings" with typically more than 2,000 attendees at multiple hotels - 13 of these meetings will meet at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Major wins in 2014 for future years included the American Educational Research Association in 2019 (14,400 attendees) and Perfect China in 2016 (5,000 attendees).

"Toronto offers so much for our meeting delegates - from great convention facilities right in the downtown, plenty of flight options and all the culture that can easily be explored outside of the convention hours," said Laurie Cipriano of American Educational Research Association. "Choosing Toronto for our meeting in 2019 made a lot of sense and will be well-received by our members."

According to Watkins Research in its 2014 survey of professional meeting planners, "Once planners have held meetings in Toronto, they are quick to recommend the city to others, as evidenced by its #1 ranked Client Advocate Score TM." Watkins Research ranks 40 cities in North America.

"These large, prestigious events could choose to hold their meetings anywhere in the world," said Tara Gordon, vice president Convention Sales and Services. "The fact that they decide to come to Toronto is a testament to the popularity and reputation of the destination and our partners."

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