Study profiles T.O. tourism

Metro Toronto must join the ranks of such cities as Las Vegas, San Francisco and New Orleans to stay in the tourism game, says a new study commissioned by three levels of government and the Metropolitan Toronto Convention and Visitors Association.The...

Metro Toronto must join the ranks of such cities as Las Vegas, San Francisco and New Orleans to stay in the tourism game, says a new study commissioned by three levels of government and the Metropolitan Toronto Convention and Visitors Association.

The study, conducted by management consultants KPMG Peat Marwick Stevenson & Kellogg, says the strategic vision for the municipality’s tourism industry should be to create a leading leisure/pleasure destination in North America.

‘An appealing leisure image is a deciding factor in the selection criteria of visitors planning a city trip – regardless of trip purpose,’ says the study, entitled ‘Competitive Tourism Development Strategy for Metropolitan Toronto.’

‘A leisure-oriented vision is based on the knowledge that most successful North American business, convention and trade show destinations are first and foremost successful leisure destinations [such as] Las Vegas, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco,’ it says.

Cost-effective marketing strategies for tourism in Metro Toronto should reflect future growth prospects and focus on the near and far Ontario and near u.s. markets for all four seasons, says the study, completed in March and approved by Metro Toronto Council last month.

International markets

The industry should also invest in and investigate international markets including the far u.s., Japan, Germany and France, with some consideration for secondary markets such as Italy, and support marketing efforts directed at Britain and the rest of Canada, it says.

According to the study, commissioned by the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, Ontario’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, and Industry, Science and Technology Canada, in addition to the convention and visitors association, there are six positioning thrusts the Metro Toronto tourism industry needs to make.

Clear image

The first of these is to develop a clear, consistent image supported by innovative marketing using a new signature event or festival to reinforce the image and to set boundaries for future marketing.

The second is to develop Toronto as a gateway city with improved air links, inter-connected regional transportation and information dissemination, and the third is pursuing additional convention and trade show potential.

Also, the study goes on, the municipality’s tourism industry should seek additional leverage from such close-at-hand regional attractions as Niagara Falls; enhance Metro Toronto’s position as a regional centre; and develop its selling propositions such as the waterfront, its arts and culture and its singular neighborhoods.

‘However, the single most important attribute to communicate is that Metropolitan Toronto is an exciting destination,’ it says.

The study says tourism in Metro Toronto generates more than $5 billion a year in direct and indirect spending and provides about 120,000 person-years of employment annually.