Niagara Falls. Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Shaw Festival. The Niagara Wine Route. Canada’s largest casino. Niagara’s tourist attractions, festivals and special events attract more than 13 million tourists from around the globe each year and they arrive ready to spend. Tourism spending in the region is over $2 billion annually and has a significant impact on the local economy. It is estimated that every $100 million increase in direct revenue in tourism produces an indirect output of $69 million.
Tourism in Canada is big business and that’s certainly the case in Niagara.
While the majority of the over 13 million tourists that arrive in Niagara each year are domestic travellers, over 3 million come from the United States and approximately 1 million are from overseas.
A closer look at the trip motivators that drive visitors to come to Niagara and spend their share of $2.4 billion demonstrates the many reasons for their arrival:
- Pleasure: 7,71,000
- Visiting friends and relatives: 3,500,000
- Shopping: 316,000
- Business: 475,000
- Personal: 870,000
Once they’ve arrived, tourists can choose to spend their time and money at 2,800 tourism-oriented establishments, including:
- 1,231 full-service restaurants
- 178 hotels and motels
- 153 bed and breakfasts
- 109 performing arts establishments
- 97 wineries
- 43 golf courses
With numbers like these, it’s not surprising that tourism is a major source of employment in the region. Over 4,660 new tourism-related jobs were created from 2011 to 2018, and a total of 40,000 people were working in Niagara’s tourism industries, including accommodation, food services, arts, culture, recreation, and entertainment as of October 2018.
The size and significance of the tourism sector in Niagara means that businesses that choose to operate here can leverage a wide range of supports that have been developed by stakeholders over decades. City and sub-regional tourism associations and the Tourism Partnership of Niagara regularly offer opportunities for business stakeholders to get involved in marketing campaigns and special events to help spread the word about Niagara and their business.
Tourism Partnership of Niagara
Tourism Partnership of Niagara (TPN) is a non-profit, industry-led organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS). Its sub-regional partners of Niagara Falls Tourism, Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake, City of St. Catharines Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Twenty Valley Tourism Association and Niagara’s South Coast Tourism Association share a vision to make Niagara the number one international tourism destination in North America.
- Thousands of visitors come to experience Niagara’s many annual festivals and events, including:
- Winter Festival of Lights, Canada’s largest light festival
- Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, Canada’s largest and oldest wine festival
- Niagara Folk Arts Festival, Canada’s oldest heritage festival
- Niagara Falls Comic Con, a must for comic and cosplay fans
- Canal Days, Marine Heritage Festival
- Peach Festival – Tribute to Niagara’s second-most-famous fruit
- Canada 2021 Summer Games will bring 5,000 athletes and an expected economic impact of $200 million to Niagara
- Summer GO Train services brings 25,000 visitors from Toronto, with year-round daily service ramping up in 2019
- The Outlet Collection at Niagara: $178M
- First Ontario Performing Arts Centre: $62M
- Meridian Centre: $50M
This report includes detailed information on the tourism-oriented sectors in Niagara including information on visitors, visitor expenditures, tourism jobs, and tourism business counts.