Why is this important? Tourism impacts our community!
Tourism is a pillar of Ontario’s economy; it supports healthy and prosperous communities, and is fundamental to our quality of life.
- Tourism generates almost $27 billion per year representing 4% of Ontario GDP
- 75% of those employed in tourism related jobs are between the ages of 15 and 45 years.
- Tourism employs more young people under the age of 25 years than ANY OTHER sector;
- Tourism accounts for 5.3% of total employment
This week gives us a platform to talk about why tourism initiatives matter. York Durham and Headwaters are the three regions that make up Central Counties Tourism. Central Counties work with the regions, local businesses and other stakeholders to develop product and improve the visitor experience.
Ontario’s Tourism Industry
- Generates over $28.5 billion annually in tourism receipts
- Supports over 362,000 tourism-related jobs and more than 160,000 tourism related businesses
- Generates 141 million visits and $22.7 billion in visitor spending
- Contributes $25 billion to Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product
- Contributes $4.9 billion in provincial tax revenues
Central Counties Tourism provides tourism stakeholders with education on marketing strategies, product/experience development, industry research and industry relations through training and workshops and expertise. Through community tourism planning – they create an actionable plan to grow tourism in each municipality. They also allocate funds to support projects that are aligned with regional and provincial tourism goals. In conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Central Counties Tourism plans to build even more compelling tourism products and experiences that will compel domestic and international visitation to our region.
Tourism is a fiercely competitive international industry with ever-changing conditions. For Ontario operators, these conditions include economic volatility, a fluctuating dollar, shifting demographics, and advancing technology, including the emergence of the new sharing economy, to name a few.
To ensure that Ontario captures its fair share of this evolving market, government and industry need to work together to anticipate needs and seize opportunities.
“Tourism needs to be viewed as an investment, not an expense,” says Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director of Central Counties Tourism. “Tourism is about a getting people who don’t live or work in your community to spend some of their hard-earned dollars in the municipality. It brings new money to businesses and employees who then spend to keep the local economy viable. For many small hospitality businesses within York, Durham and Headwaters, having a handful of non-residents a week visit them can mean the difference between keeping the doors open or closing down, which would have a negative effect on the entire neighbourhood. Working together allows businesses to reach further afield to attract even more out-of-towners.”
Tourism, culture and sport each contribute significantly to Ontario’s economy. About 14 percent of total visitors that come to Ontario participate in cultural or sporting activities. Specifically, the live music sector generates $455 million in revenues and contributes
$252 million annually to the Canadian economy. Also, the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Toronto, the largest multi-sport games in Canadian history, created an estimated 26,000 jobs and boosted Ontario’s real GDP by up to $3.7 billion between 2009 and 2017.
In addition to making a significant economic contribution, a prosperous tourism sector benefits:
- Ontarians culturally and socially
- Supporting healthy and prosperous communities across Ontario
- Fostering a powerful sense of place and pride in the province, its culture, history and diverse communities
- Supporting healthy and active lifestyles through sport and recreation, such as walking, hiking and cycling
- Developing the talents and skills of Ontario’s workforce as the largest employer of youth in the province
It is important for government and industry to support the tourism sector’s continued growth in the province by attracting a greater share of a growing number of global travellers, and encouraging longer visits and greater expenditures.
Central Counties Tourism was established as a regional tourism organization in 2010 under a framework developed by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture, following the completion of the Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study. Our mandate is to identify sustainable best product and practices that will build a stronger and more competitive tourism industry within the region. We are funded by the Ontario Government and managed as a not-for-profit organization by a voluntary tourism industry board.
Central Counties Tourism works with the existing tourism offices within the regions of York and Durham, and Headwaters, who are each responsible for product development and marketing to tourism consumers within the local municipalities. Our mission is to increase tourism in the region by promoting and developing unique and competitive tourism products that attract high yield visitors from outside the Central Counties region.