Domestic market leads, U.S. market advances, and international markets build momentum
Destination Toronto’s latest Market Readiness Index shows domestic markets continued their strong recovery through the summer with search interest for travel to Toronto consistently exceeding 2019 levels in July & August. Canadians this summer felt more confident travelling domestically: according to Destination Canada’s (DC) Resident Sentiment survey, more than 80% agreed with this sentiment in August, up from 51% in July. Domestic interest in Toronto and consumer confidence converted into visitation, with estimated arrivals for June & July reaching 78% & 76% of 2019 levels, approximately 421k & 451k visitors, respectively,
U.S. visitation also saw a major boost in June & July, with approximately 64k & 90k visitors crossing the border, a 148% & 42% increase month over month (MoM) respectively, though still only reaching just shy of 30% of 2019 levels for June-July combined. Destination readiness for the U.S. market took a leap forward with the level of welcomeness towards American travellers reaching a new high since the pandemic began at 63% in Aug, an increase of 8 percentage points over the prior month. At the same time, customer readiness continued to improve with avoidance of air travel down to its lowest level in Aug at 28.7%; 31% of US respondents in Aug also indicated they would likely travel internationally within the next 12 months, up 5 percentage points MoM.
International markets recorded their strongest recovery in June & July with visitation increasing 47% and 29% MoM, reaching approx. 77k and 99k visitors respectively, and exceeding 50% of 2019 levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic. UK, Germany & Mexico markets drove recovery in this segment, each exceeding 60% of 2019 visitation levels in both months, with UK and Mexico exceeding the 70% mark in July. The destination readiness factor for this market also saw significant gains in August; with the level of welcomeness reaching 64%, up 8 percentage points MoM, and 45% of locals supporting the promotion of Toronto to international travellers, up 5 percentage points MoM.
Arrivals data for August is pending, but the June-July travel trend is expected to sustain through the summer after adjusting for high demand related activities in June like Pride month, which saw its first restriction-free celebration since 2019, and other major business events like Collision & PDAC, which generated a combined attendance of over 50k. Despite a busy summer in the city with the highest travel demand recorded since 2019, destination readiness for Toronto remained high with most surveyed Torontonians agreeing that a strong tourism industry is good for their communities, 83% and 77% in July & August respectively.
The impact of inflationary pressures was not apparent in survey responses or visitation trends. However, with tightening monetary policy, and sticky inflation in the short term, a minor slowdown in tourism recovery remains a possibility.
Download the September 2022 Market Readiness Index here.