April 13, 2005

York Region tourism rebounds thanks to aggressive recovery efforts


NEWMARKET While fewer people visited York Region in 2003 due to SARS and other uncertainty affecting the global tourism industry, York Region was more successful than Ontario overall in retaining visitors between 2002 and 2003.  This is one of the key findings presented in An Overview of Tourism in York Region:  An Analysis of Domestic and International Travel Surveys 2003.
"The impact of the SARS outbreak, an economic slow down and world events combined to deliver a major blow to tourism between 2002 and 2003," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  "But our aggressive marketing efforts and SARS recovery initiatives have proven effective as we now see proof that York Region's tourism industry did in fact achieve a relatively better performance in 2003.
"These results and positive feedback are welcomed, and help solidify our future plans," he added.
The Region's study was based on Statistics Canada's "Canadian and International Travel Surveys," an annual research program that collects data on the current markets, economic impacts and characteristics of tourism and is an authoritative source of information on the tourism industry.
Highlights of the 2003 visitation data include:
 the decline of visitors to Ontario was 12 per cent compared to an 8 per cent decline in York Region
 visitor expenditures in Ontario were down 12 per cent compared to a 7 per cent increase in York Region
 Ontario's same-day visitor traffic declined 10 per cent compared to only 8 per cent in York Region
 Ontario's 14 per cent decline in overnight visitors was double York Region's 7 per cent decline
"The research findings also confirm that the Region has the potential to increase the economic impact from the tourism sector," said Markham Regional Councillor Frank Scarpitti, Chair of the Region's Planning and Economic Development Committee.  "Staff will continue working with tourism stakeholders to develop programs, partnerships and packages to build revenues, market share and economic impact as outlined in the 2005 tourism marketing program."
Commissioned by York Region, the Overview of Tourism in York Region focuses on numbers relevant to York Region.  It provides additional information such as:
 Approximately 2.5 million people visited York Region
 York Region is primarily a same-day destination, attracting 1.9 million same-day visitors
 Overnight tourism in York Region decreased between 2002 and 2003
 York Region was more successful than was Ontario as a whole in retaining overnight visitors between 2002 and 2003
 The decline in U.S. visitors to York Region between 2002 and 2003 was restricted to the same-day market
 Ontario is York Region's primary feeder market for overnight tourism
 Overnight visitors are on trips with the main purpose of visiting friends and relatives than for pleasure purposes
 Visitors spent $184 million in York Region during 2003
 Tourism generated almost 2,000 direct jobs in York Region, an additional 490 indirect and induced jobs in the Region and about $136.7 million in Gross Domestic Product for the municipality during 2003
The Canadian Travel Survey is a monthly telephone survey among Canadians capturing the previous month travel for all overnight trips and same-day trips of 40 km or more, one way from home among Ontario residents (other than for work purposes) and 80 km for all other Canadian travellers.
The International Travel Survey is a self completion survey distributed at ports of entry for completion by U.S.A. and overseas visitors to Canada at the end of their trip and is supplemented by exit surveys administered by interviewers in airport exit lounges.
Statistics Canada's Canadian Travel Survey and the International Travel Survey were made available to York Region by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation.
The research project "An Overview of Tourism in York Region" was prepared by Research Resolutions & Consulting Ltd.  The report may be obtained at www.yorktourism.com or by calling York Region Tourism at (905) 883-3442 or toll-free at 1-888-448-0000.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca
Contact:   Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications Services, York Region
(905) 830-4444 or (416) 297-9696, ext. 1238
Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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