News   Jun 18, 2024
 172     0 
News   Jun 18, 2024
 357     0 
News   Jun 17, 2024
 1.2K     4 

Toronto Tourism

3cp1

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
53
Reaction score
0
From today's Star:

City in desperate need of pizzazz

Hotel staff offers ideas to attract new visitors and reverse Toronto's decline in tourism
Aug 05, 2007 04:30 AM
Bertil de Kloet

As workers in the Toronto hospitality industry, our hotel staff and I are very worried.

Tourism has declined drastically in the past few years: According to the Greater Toronto Hotel Association, hotel occupancy rates were at 70.23 per cent in 2004, 70.14 per cent in 2005 and 69.77 per cent in 2006.

Historically, July and August have been two of our busiest months; now downtown hotel occupancy is running at approximately 68.9 per cent.

New hotels are still being built in downtown Toronto but Toronto's existing hotels can't fill their rooms, and all hotels are being forced to reduce their average daily rate in order to stay competitive. Hotels with 2- or 3-star ratings now find themselves competing for business with the 4- and 5-star hotels as the gap in room rates narrows.

Tourism can feed this city. It brings in cash, jobs, vibrancy. Recently, the public has been inundated with news reports about escalating taxes, provincial downloading and the dire financial straits of our city. It needs to be emphasized that visitors to Toronto spend money. Tourists stay in hotel rooms (and pay taxes), eat in restaurants (and pay taxes), shop (and pay taxes), travel by TTC, taxi and rental cars (and pay taxes). Tourists create jobs. When visitors come to Toronto, everybody wins.

But why would tourists want to come to Toronto now? There is nothing new or exciting happening. It's always the same old thing: Ontario Place, CN Tower, Toronto Eaton Centre. For anyone who has visited Toronto before, it's a "been there, done that" situation.

There have been a few new additions, such as the Chinese Lantern Festival and BMO Field, which is home to Toronto FC Soccer Club and recently hosted the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Pay attention: We need new attractions to help entice tourists to come and stay in our city. Tourists spend money, they tell their friends who come and spend their money. Tourists help drive the city's economy.

There are many excuses for the lack of tourism to Toronto: U.S. passport requirements, the value of the Canadian dollar, the price of gas. Don't let that fool you – the reason Toronto tourism is sagging is because there is nothing new to do or see here. Toronto has become a stopover on the way to somewhere else.

The city has become ugly and dirty. We used to be known as the cleanest city in North America. "Toronto the Beautiful" is no more.

We have a waterfront that is tired looking and colourless. Lake Ontario is completely blocked from view by giant condominiums. Condos also block Rogers Centre, the Air Canada Centre; even the CN Tower is partially hidden from view. Prime real estate that could be used to house new venues to attract visitors to our city is being eaten up by condominium towers.

Reports of crime and gun violence in Toronto are broadcast on news stations around the world, spoiling our reputation as a safe city. Safety is a huge concern to travellers.

Now we are being threatened with the loss or reduction of many city services unless the city is allowed to impose new taxes.

Well, increased tourism would mean increased revenue and tax dollars for the city. Service cuts, such as closing the Sheppard subway line or fewer police, won't make the city more attractive to visitors. Instead of adding new or higher taxes or taking away the services that make our city great, how about implementing some creative and innovative ideas to create more tourism revenue.

Toronto needs major new attractions, attractions that would be recognized and known throughout the world. Collectively, the staff at the Days Hotel and Conference Centre Toronto Downtown came up with the following ideas:

A world-class aquarium on the waterfront.

A casino on the waterfront or the Exhibition Grounds, possibly at one end of the Toronto Islands. Why build it at Woodbine? Bring people downtown.

Create direct high-speed service from Pearson airport to downtown Toronto.

Besides these large additions, there are smaller actions the city could take right now:

Keep the Financial District open for cars but make some streets pedestrian-only walkways. It works in Kensington Market on certain Sundays of each month – extend this to the downtown area and other neighbourhoods.

Toronto already holds popular street festivals. Initiate more and hold them more often. Close part of Yonge Street for an art festival. Introduce evening bazaars and showcase a different ethnic group each time. In winter, everyone wants to go to Carnivale in Quebec. Toronto's winter festival should be bigger and better.

Take pride in our Waterfront right now. Plant more flowers, clean it up. We have something special there – make it beautiful again!

Yonge-Dundas Square. Make it lively – give it pizzazz. How about Dancing under the Stars? Latin, salsa, jive, swing – include a live band.

The streetscape of Yonge Street is shameful. Yonge Street is Toronto. Make it beautiful – make it trendy – make it safe.

Be more aggressive in promoting the city's attractions. One thing we have noticed is how poor Toronto's self-promotion is. Even residents don't always know about the festivities happening around them.

If our small group can come up with these ideas, imagine what could happen if the city and the rest of the hospitality industry got involved.

Bertil de Kloet is chief operating officer of Interras Hotel Management. He submitted this article on behalf of the staff at Days Hotel and Conference Centre Toronto Downtown.
 
We have a waterfront that is tired looking and colourless. Lake Ontario is completely blocked from view by giant condominiums. Condos also block Rogers Centre, the Air Canada Centre; even the CN Tower is partially hidden from view. Prime real estate that could be used to house new venues to attract visitors to our city is being eaten up by condominium towers.

The "hotel staff" manager should take note that the waterfront development is underway. It can't be done over night.

If a view of Lake Ontario wasn't being blocked by condos, it would be blocked by a highway, or office towers, or something. How far is his "view" supposed to go back?

And as for condos, isn't it actually a good thing for the city that people are moving downtown?
 
If Toronto wants more tourists, it has to start building more tourist attractions. It's pretty simple. New York and western Europe can be afford to be smug about tourist attractions -- they have plenty of them already and will attract people anyway. Toronto cannot.
 
We have something special there – make it beautiful again!


I think i like it better now. When i was younger all i remember was old and abandoned industrial warehouses near the waterfront.


maybe in the 1950's or something it was better but it was even worse in the 1980's. However the main attractions like the Island were better though.
 
But why would tourists want to come to Toronto now? There is nothing new or exciting happening. It's always the same old thing: Ontario Place, CN Tower, Toronto Eaton Centre.
This is about where I started rolling my eyes. The rest of the article is complete crap. Yeah, there haven't been any new or expanded cultural attractions at all lately. And people aren't visiting Toronto because of new skyscrapers near a baseball stadium. And because there are buildings buffering the waterfront from a freeway. That makes so much sense.
 
It makes perfect sense if people aren't visiting because nothing new that would be attractive to tourists was built for years. That will hopefully change with all the new museums and the like being opened in the next little while. Of course, the question remains whether people will want to go to the AGO when they can go to the Albright-Knox or Chicago Institute of Art...

You're absolutely right that the condos themselves have not driven people away. The problem is that they don't attract anybody either. People go down to the waterfront to see Harbourfront Centre, to eat at one of the (few) restaurants at Queens Quay terminal. They don't go their to look at Malibu or WaterParkCity.
 
Not a very good article. What's going on in terms of absolute numbers of visitors? The decrease in occupancy rate could be due to all the new hotels in the city, couldn't it? Make the waterfront beautiful again? When was it beautiful? Toronto is now dirty and ugly? Toronto was prettier in the 1970s? I don't buy it. And the stronger Canadian dollar is not an excuse, it's a real factor. Without a doubt, Toronto needs more pizzazz and needs to work on its image and other deficiencies, but there are too many problems with this article to take it seriously.
 
When was it beautiful? Toronto is now dirty and ugly? Toronto was prettier in the 1970s? I don't buy i

in the 1970's some of those ugly public housing monstrosities looked newer and thus they looked better.

Now they look really bad and that would drive some to say the city looks worse.
 
I think this article comes a bit late. Steps are already being taken to revive Toronto's tourism industry, and they seem to be working. We already host many internationally famous events, our cultural institutions have all seen massive expansions and upgrades, new institutions are being built, our waterfront is slowly being transformed, old tourist attractions have been given new life (CN Tower) and new attractions are being built. What more can a city do? The only thing which I can think of is marketing. Send more ad's down south and around the world. Let the world know Toronto is waiting and ready.
 
What i have noticed is that in many parts of Canada there is a lot more Tourism inside Canada.

A lot more people are heading up the North because well its beautiful and its close by and didn't think such beautiful places exist in Ontario. I am not lying many people think Rural Ontario is just farmland and trees.

There are likely millions of people in Ontario who have not have seen many Toronto attractions or attractions in Ontario itself. These people would spend money but they may not though stay a night though.

meaning Toronto may be getting more visitors but they may be more local visitors and they wouldn't really stay at a hotel for a night.
 
But why would tourists want to come to Toronto now? There is nothing new or exciting happening. It's always the same old thing: Ontario Place, CN Tower, Toronto Eaton Centre.

That's a valid point. Your typical Joe Blow tourist that drives up here from Ohio with his 3 kids and SUV wants things like Wonderland, Eaton Centre, or the CN Tower. In other words, anonymous tourist traps that could be anywhere, but in this instance happen to be in Toronto. To the tens of millions of people like this, there won't be a reason to come back to Toronto unless a new tourist trap is built. Wonderland's supposedly getting a mega coaster next year which would certainly help.

But this is only half the problem. The other half is that there's a large segment of the population that doesn't buy into things like that, but would instead be fascinated by the things that make Toronto unique. Livable downtown neighbourhoods, independent art galleries, riding North America's largest streetcar network. It's about time that Tourism Toronto start focusing on that sort of thing too, because it's a large untapped market.
 
Many of the summer festivals/events bring hundreds of thousands of tourists to Toronto from all over. Molson Indy, Caribana, Pride, Taste of the Danforth, Canada's Wonderland, Toronto International Film Festival, Jazz Festivals, CNE, live theate & on and on. SARS hurt bad, the American dollar and gas prices haven't helped. City events and places to see must continue to be effectively advertised through print and television media in the traditional demographic areas that are most likely to come to Toronto, or come back. Although we know that crime is very low in Toronto it only takes a few shootings in a short time period and people within the Toronto media area think twice about coming to the city for pleasure which hurts tourism from within the southern Ontario area. Toronto needs to be sold as a clean, safe and fun place, with plenty to see and do. Which there certainly is.
 
Toronto already holds popular street festivals. Initiate more and hold them more often. Close part of Yonge Street for an art festival. Introduce evening bazaars and showcase a different ethnic group each time. In winter, everyone wants to go to Carnivale in Quebec. Toronto's winter festival should be bigger and better.

Take pride in our Waterfront right now. Plant more flowers, clean it up. We have something special there – make it beautiful again!

Yonge-Dundas Square. Make it lively – give it pizzazz. How about Dancing under the Stars? Latin, salsa, jive, swing – include a live band.

The streetscape of Yonge Street is shameful. Yonge Street is Toronto. Make it beautiful – make it trendy – make it safe.

Be more aggressive in promoting the city's attractions. One thing we have noticed is how poor Toronto's self-promotion is. Even residents don't always know about the festivities happening around them.

If our small group can come up with these ideas, imagine what could happen if the city and the rest of the hospitality industry got involved.

Bertil de Kloet is chief operating officer of Interras Hotel Management. He submitted this article on behalf of the staff at Days Hotel and Conference Centre Toronto Downtown.


Has he been to Yonge-Dundas Square recently? There's something pretty much every weekend and the place is absolutely packed.

I agree with something in the winter though. Toronto can seem dead in the winter and there's no reason it needs to be. There should be a huge winter celebration that takes over the city. Hold it in January or February when the city is at its dreariest and there isn't too much tourism competition (although, a lot of people do their winter traveling in December).

Toronto also needs to drastically improve it's branding and promotional efforts.
 
Attracting tourists beyond the roller coasters and museums set would be helped more than anything by popular culture that connected an imaginary Toronto to the real thing, no matter how wonderful or inadequate the real thing may be - if there were books and movies and battles and whatever else that were known to anyone who lived outside of the GTA, people could visit Toronto to be a part of this imaginary landscape. I'm sure 99% of non-Torontonians could not name a book, movie, or famous event that took place in Toronto, so what's the real impetus for them to visit here if they don't live within a few hours drive or have relatives here or are making an obligatory stop on a cross-Canada 'beavers and Mounties' tour? There is no here here and the lack of mountains, ocean, good year round climate, etc., makes it much harder. One bestselling book or one shocking disaster or one truly spectacular monument (edit - or maybe the Olympics :)) might be all that's needed to keep 'Toronto' in peoples' minds and would be more effective than any number of branding campaigns.
 
or maybe whats needed os more big time movis that are shot in Toronto, actually act as Toronto!!! The government should give another tax break if movies use Toronto as Toronto! And if more music videos are shot in Toronto or use Toronto in their songs then Toronto will get more known! Also we need to keep hosting big events like the FIFA U-20 World Cup! We should add more events that attract the Europeans, like more upscale fashion shows! We should have a MASSIVE art festival/show in the middle of winter! It could be named T.O IN WHITE! We need alo of unding to make these events big enought that will get global attention! We need to make sure that media people from around the world are here at our events like TIFF, or Caribana etc.
 

Back
Top