Toronto lost $8.35 billion in economic activity from tourist spending due to the travel restrictions and lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis Destination Toronto released on Thursday.
The analysis found that the industries most affected by the reduction in tourism spending were retail, which had a $1.67 billion loss in economy activity, food and beverage lost $1.3 billion, accommodations lost $1.2 billion and attractions and entertainment lost $707 million.
“Simply stated, 380,000 attendees didn’t come to Toronto over the past year. As a result, they didn’t stay in hotels or visit attractions, didn’t spend money in our retail shops, or eat in our restaurants,” Scott Beck, the president and chief executive officer of Destination Toronto said.
“Prior to the pandemic, Toronto had been riding a wave of momentum and experienced annual growth in visitor spending for over a decade.”
The analysis from Destination Toronto stemmed from a visitor economy study that was produced by Tourism Toronto in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade and released in 2019. According to the study, Toronto’s 27.5 million visitors generated an economic impact of $10.3 billion and supported 70,000 jobs.
Another sector that was hit hard by the pandemic was the meetings and events industry. Destination Toronto tracked 463 conferences and events that were cancelled or postponed since the pandemic began, costing $833 million in losses.
This past year, the pandemic has taken its toll on the tourism and hospitality sector.
I am determined to work with @SeeTorontoNow and businesses across the city to attract visitors and ensure all the success we had before COVID-19 continues when these tough times are over. pic.twitter.com/TGIIXuQhXa
— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 4, 2021
In addition, the reduced visitor spending resulted in $1.44 billion in unrealized tax revenue for the municipal, provincial and federal government.
“We are working non-stop to get through this pandemic so that we can safely restart and reopen our city,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “One of the hardest hit areas during the pandemic has been the hospitality and tourism sector but I am absolutely confident that this sector will come back strong with more jobs than ever before.”
Destination Toronto works in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association and the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries to market and promote the city to global travellers.