Even with over $600 million in economic impact from business events in Toronto in 2023, the city is at 55 per cent of pre-pandemic levels of impact

TORONTO, March 30, 2023 — Today is Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), an international recognition of the positive social and economic benefits provided by the business events industry. Business events generate more than $1 trillion of direct spending every year into the global economy, according to an Oxford Economics analysis conducted just before the pandemic. In Toronto, business events delivered over $1.1 billion in economic impact in 2019.1

Business events in 2023 are on pace to bring an estimated $624 million in economic impact to the Toronto economy. While these visitors will have a welcome impact in 2023, this represents 55 per cent of what meetings and events contributed in 2019. Toronto is on the road to rebuilding the impact of the meetings industry, but remains well short of pre-pandemic levels. Currently, 2024 is on pace to deliver only 21 per cent of the pre-pandemic economic impact from meetings and events. 

“Hosting major events and conferences in Toronto delivers economic impact to our local economy, and it also adds to the city’s vibrancy, bringing together big thinkers in sectors where we are leaders like tech, finance, and healthcare,” said Scott Beck, President & CEO of Destination Toronto. “When we couldn’t meet in-person we were reminded of the value of face-to-face interactions, which can lead to unplanned business connections and inspire new ideas. Global Meetings Industry Day is an opportunity to highlight the economic impact of visitor spending from business events, and also the immeasurable indirect impact that comes from bringing people together.” 

On March 28, in support of the meetings and event industry, the Government of Canada released its budget for fiscal year 2023-24 funding a multi-year investment  “to attract major international conventions, conferences, and events to Canada.”

According to Meetings Mean Business Canada, GMID is an opportunity to raise awareness among federal decision makers about our industry’s long road to recovery. Advocacy priorities include removing barriers like processing times for NEXUS and Visa (visitor and work) applications, reputational damage around Canada’s airport experience, reigniting and fast-tracking the positive economic impact of business events through tax incentives and / or rebates, and more. 

This spring, during April, May, and June, Toronto will welcome approximately 130,000 attendees to the city. Upcoming citywide events (events with more than 1,500 attendees) include:

  • American Counseling Association (ACA), ACA Annual Conference & Exhibition (4,200)
  • Ontario Volleyball Association, Ontario Championships 2023 (7,200)
  • Ontario Public Service Employee Union, 2023 Annual Conference (3,000)
  • Canadian Produce Marketing Association, 2023 CPMA Convention and Trade Show (4,000)
  • Ontario Association for Mathematics Education, OAME Conference 2023 (1,500)
  • SIAL Canada, 2023 Annual Trade Show (25,000)
  • Ontario Dental Association, Annual Spring Meeting (12,000)
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI), ULI Spring Meeting 2023 (3,600)
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities, FCM 2023 Annual Conference (2,000)
  • Overactive Media Group (OAM), Call of Duty Majors 2023 (2,500)
  • Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 92nd Annual Congress of The Humanities and Social Sciences (10,000)
  • Digital Health Canada, e-Health 2023 Annual Conference and Tradeshow (1,500)
  • International Society For Magnetic Resonance In Medicine, 2023 ISMRM Scientific Meeting and Exhibition (6,400)
  • American Water Works Association (AWWA), AWWA 2023 Annual Conference & Exposition - ACE23 (11,000)
  • Canadian Gaming Association, Canadian Gaming Summit & REMI/ISSA Show (3,500)
  • Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals, HITEC 2023 (5,500)
  • Connected Intelligence Limited, Collision 2023 (35,000) 

Industry associations across Canada will mark GMID by hosting educational events and encouraging their local convention centres, meeting venues, hotels and attractions to light in blue, and to share their efforts using the hashtag #LightingUpBlue on social media. In Toronto, the CN Tower, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Exhibition Place, the TORONTO sign at Nathan Phillips Square and more will be marking the day by lighting up blue.

1Economic impact is not available for all meetings and includes only meeting contracts facilitated by Destination Toronto.

Media contact:

Kathy Motton
Destination Toronto – Senior Communications Manager