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Montreal beats out Toronto for catching world's eye as tourist destination

ganjavih

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Montreal beats out Toronto for catching world's eye as tourist destination

http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/254473

Sep 08, 2007 04:30 AM
The one area where Toronto fared badly in the international press was tourism – it was mentioned as a tourist destination in only 1 per cent of stories, compared to 6 per cent for Montreal.

"Toronto is not seen as a tourist beacon in any of the surveyed countries," according to the study by Influence Communication, the Montreal media monitoring firm that conducted the survey of Montreal and Toronto for the Toronto Star.

That doesn't faze Tourism Toronto officials.

"Those numbers don't strike me as a bad thing," said Mark Weir, vice-president of communications for Tourism Toronto.

"Our objective is not just to get travel-destination stories written about Toronto, we want Toronto written about in all different contexts."

He said Tourism Toronto is drafting a plan to attract "high-value" visitors, who stay longer and spend more money.

Weir says Tourism Toronto wants to attract architecture aficionados with stories about the ROM, the AGO and the Gardiner, the Four Seasons Centre; theatre-goers with reviews of shows like We Will Rock You and last year's Lord of the Rings; and foodies with stories about Toronto restaurants.

The majority of tourism stories about Montreal came from U.S. papers.

The greatest proportion of tourism stories about Toronto came from the U.K. – 41 per cent.

Articles about visiting Montreal highlight the city's proximity to the U.S., the nearby ski resorts, Old Montreal and of course, the French factor, says Eric Leveille of Influence Communication.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Francine Kopun
 

Hydrogen

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That doesn't faze Tourism Toronto officials.

"Those numbers don't strike me as a bad thing," said Mark Weir, vice-president of communications for Tourism Toronto.

It doesn't strike me as a good thing. While the sky is not falling, those data are saying something important about the perceptions that are out there.
 

smuncky

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haven't been to MTL in 3 years. so im quite excited to go see it in 2 weeks when we head up there for the weekend for an architectural field trip as part of my studio class.
 

allabootmatt

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The larger companion piece to the story posted above explains why it is a good thing; due to Toronto's getting massively more mentions for things actually going on here (culture, business, etc.) than Montreal did. In the long run, much better to be known for what happens than for being a pleasant tourist destination.

Also keep in mind that according to the study that's 1% of 6,000 TO articles, vs. 6% of 3,500 on MTL.

That said, I was suprised by that finding as there is rarely a shortage of Toronto stories in the travel sections of a wide range of int'l papers.
 

Hydrogen

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I just spent a week in New York and was I surprised at how often Montreal came up. The people I was with (American) most certainly knew of Toronto for business and finance, but Montreal easily had the edge when it came to attitudes concerning Canadian destinations for pleasure. I have nothing to back it up, but the promoting of Montreal as having a European flare has certainly worked with respect to tourism.
 

Lone Primate

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It's a slight blow to the pride, I guess, but as long as people are coming to Canada, somewhere in Canada, that's the really important thing.

But I can admit there are differences between Toronto and Montreal. Toronto's come a long way since it was "the Belfast of America" (couldn't Belfast have been "the Toronto of Europe" instead?) up into the 1950s; a bland, blue, WASPish enclave of dour businessmen who were effectively Scottish no matter if their last names were English, French, Polish, or Italian, and where the Orange Lodge decided who would be mayor of Toronto and premier of Toronto and let the plebs ratify their choices in elections. Yeah, we're not that town anymore. But Montreal never was. It's always had a certain je ne sais quoi. To me, it's the difference between Los Angeles and New York. Los Angeles is about forever yearning to "get there", waving your arms, screaming for attention and for someone to come up and tell you you've arrived. Toronto's still kind of like that. In New York, and in Montreal, it's about knowing you're there, and you always were, and you always will be, no matter what.
 

allabootmatt

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The other story:


Toronto's surprise claim to fame TheStar.com - Film Fest - Toronto's surprise claim to fame
Survey that tracks which city events rate international coverage says film fest is T.O.'s technical knockout
September 08, 2007
Francine Kopun
Feature Writer

The Toronto International Film Festival is the city's biggest international newsmaker by far, according to a new study by a Montreal media monitoring company.

Without it, our biggest claim to fame would be the Toronto Stock Exchange.

"We call it a media eclipse, meaning it's such a big event that it makes everything else look unimportant," said Eric Leveille, general manager of Influence Communication, the company that conducted the study for the Toronto Star and La Presse.

"We would even go so far as to say that while TIFF is going on, it's an excellent time of year for corporations to announce bad news because no one is going to listen. It's eclipsing all other news right now in your city."

The study examined 50 newspapers from eight countries outside of Canada for articles that mentioned Toronto or Montreal – excluding sports stories. Some highlights:

Toronto was mentioned 6,000 times. Montreal was mentioned 3,500 times.

Thirty per cent of the stories about Toronto related to business, with the Toronto Stock Exchange accounting for 13 per cent of mentions.

Another 30 per cent of the stories about Toronto related to culture. In that category, TIFF was by far the biggest story, accounting for one-quarter of all mentions of Toronto.

"This is humongous. Twenty-five per cent of a sector is absolutely huge," said David Lamarche, Influence analyst.

The indie band Arcade Fire was Montreal's top culture story, and it accounted for only 5 per cent of stories in that category. Cirque du Soleil and the Just for Laughs Festival were tied for second – each were named in 4 per cent of stories about culture in Montreal. The Jazz Festival, Leonard Cohen and the Montreal Film Festival tied for third place at 2 per cent each.

TIFF was the most covered topic in the U.K., in the U.S., where it got 10 times more coverage than any other subject in the culture sector, and in India, explained in part by the strong Bollywood connection.

"Bollywood loves Toronto," said Leveille. "More and more they're sending their stars to your city, they're sending their producers out there."

TIFF director Piers Handling said yesterday he knows from first-hand experience that Toronto is known from Houston to Mumbai for the film festival. He argues it's becoming what the Louvre is to Paris – a cultural icon, inextricably linked to the city.

"The festival largely brands the city of Toronto. I'll be so arrogant as to say that to a large extent, we brand Canada," said Handling.

Mayor David Miller said he's not surprised to hear TIFF is such a big news story.

"TIFF is now the most important film festival in the world. It's an extraordinary success," he said, although he stopped short of agreeing with Handling that it should get more funds from any level of government as a result.

The challenge, said Miller, is to use the strength of TIFF to promote Toronto in other ways – as an international business centre, a great place to make films as well as see them, a great place to visit.

Other important Canadian news stories included the AIDS/HIV conference in August 2006, and the Canadian mining industry, which is closely watched in Australia and South Africa. The Dawson College shooting was the biggest news story in Montreal during the period covered by the survey – May 1, 2006 to April 30, 2007.

The arrest of 17 suspected terrorists in the Toronto area did not play as widely or as often as Leveille thought it would – it was the fifth-most reported story about Toronto worldwide, behind TIFF, the AIDS conference, the TSX and Conrad Black. He said that might be because stories about the arrests may have referred to "Canada" or "Ontario" rather than "Toronto."

Toronto, the analysts pointed out, continues to enjoy a reputation as "Toronto the Good." An article in one South African paper, for example, discussed whether or not rumours of a law in Toronto requiring pedestrians to give hand signals before turning were true.

But when it comes to tourism, Toronto needs help. Tourism accounted for only 1 per cent of stories about the city in the international press, compared to 6 per cent of stories about Montreal.

The survey also found that the Toronto Star was the most often cited newspaper and the University of Toronto the most-often mentioned university.

In Montreal, McGill was the university most often mentioned in the international press.






Again, I consider this a good news story for sure. Much better to get ink for the category-killer film festival and other cultural stuff than boilerplate travel section stories. The lengthy recent articles in the NYT mag and New Yorker about Broken Social Scene and Feist and the scenes they came out of, respectively, are an example of what I mean; if you build or sing or show it, they will come.


Also, funny how absent in this (and in most discussion of this stuff) is that Toronto gets many more visitors annually than any other Canadian city. And incidentally it's been covered in the NYT travel section two weeks in a row now.


Edit: actually it was twice last week (West Queen West and Nuit Blanche) as well as this week (Colborne Lane and the Hazelton)
 
M

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I just met a pen pal from San Fran who has moved to Seoul for work. I asked if he has ever visited Toronto. He bascially asked "Toronto? Is there anything to see and do there?"

'nuf said :rolleyes:

I know I'm right to say that Toronto Tourism marketing people are useless, only focus on Buffalo and New York and neglect the world when it comes to promoting Toronto.
 
M

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Weir says Tourism Toronto wants to attract architecture aficionados with stories about the ROM, the AGO and the Gardiner, the Four Seasons Centre;

Ya, tell the world to come to Toronto to see the Four Seasons Centre, for it's architectural greatness, that WILL ATTRACT MORE PEOPLE TO COME! :rolleyes:
 

Tewder

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The larger companion piece to the story posted above explains why it is a good thing; due to Toronto's getting massively more mentions for things actually going on here (culture, business, etc.) than Montreal did. In the long run, much better to be known for what happens than for being a pleasant tourist destination.

Good point. Montreal's image relies on its past, in the way that New Orlean's does. Toronto is happening now, which is building what will become its image in the future. This to me is far more exciting.

I'm always amazed that somebody will assess Toronto's international reputation based on an interaction with some uninformed or ignorant individual? In my travels I've met people who didn't really know a lot about the city, but I've also met a lot who did.
 

allabootmatt

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Yeah...I have to say that while I've met a lot of Americans who have no idea about the city there are probably an equal number who are aware, in some vage sense anyway, of it being a major cultural/business centre. Film Fest helps with that a lot, of course, as does the general film industry association.

And the ones who actually visit almost all end up loving it.
 

Mongo

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An article in one South African paper, for example, discussed whether or not rumours of a law in Toronto requiring pedestrians to give hand signals before turning were true.

:D

Pedestrians turning without signalling -- Toronto's hidden scourge.

Bill
 

Admiral Beez

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Toronto is not a tourism city, IMO. New York, Paris, London, Sydney and yes New Orleans, Montreal and Quebec City are tourist cities. Toronto is a nice place to live, but I'd bet that half the folks who fly to Pearson as "tourists" come to visit their families in Brampton or elsewhere in the GTA, and if they come to Toronto at all, it's the usual CN Tower, Rogers Centre and Toronto Island Run.

Now, that's not to say that there's not great things to do in Toronto, but we do not promote them, as we're not tourist focused.
 

allabootmatt

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I think that may be an outdated perspective, to be honest. I'm not sure what your criteria is of a tourist city, but when I am back here I find myself constantly giving directions to people looking for Queen West , Kensington Mkt, etc.

Just because TO is not necessarily tourist-oriented it doesn't mean there aren't TONS of tourists, and lots of coverage of the city as a tourist destination.

Not to mention 10 or so new hotels recently completed or underway!
 

syn

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Toronto is a good destination for tourists, it just does a lousy job of promoting itself.
 

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