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THE SCOOP | Ontario Arts Council Report: Arts And Culture Travel Brings $11.4 Billion To The Province

By Anya Wassenberg on November 20, 2023

Original Image of Toronto by Joe from Pixabay (CC0C)
Original Image of Toronto by Joe from Pixabay (CC0C)

They stay longer, spend more, and come from afar — a new report details what the arts and culture tourism brings to the province.

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) released a report last week that quantifies the impact that tourism oriented around arts and culture has in the province. The document was commissioned by OAC from Forum Research Inc, a Toronto-based research and polling specialist.

The report, titled the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, is based on data from Statistics Canada.

Arts, Culture & Travel

One of the key takeaways from the document is that trips and travel oriented around arts and culture has a bigger economic impact than non-arts related travel — nearly triple the impact, as it happens.

  • Tourists spend just about $11.4 billion on arts and culture tourism in Ontario;
  • The direct value-added to the province is calculated at $5.7 billion.

In response to the report’s findings, Rita Davies, chair of the OAC’s board of directors, stated:

“Forum’s analysis demonstrates that the economic impact of arts and culture tourism ripples out beyond artists and arts organizations into local economies, job creation and growth. It also shows that arts and culture activities are an important factor in why travellers choose to visit Ontario.”

The Northern Ontario Tourism Summit was the backdrop for the launch of the report. There, Ontario Culture Days hosted a conversation between Michael Murray, OAC’s CEO, and Kathleen Sharpe, executive director of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

Michael noted, “The tourism sector was among the hardest hit by the pandemic. The arts sector — also rebuilding itself in the post-COVID-19 era — can play a key role not only in restoring pre-pandemic impact, but as part of a growth strategy for Ontario.”

Numbers from the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile

Here are some of the numbers that demonstrate the concrete impacts of arts and culture tourism.

They stay longer, and come from far away:

  • 40% of all arts and culture visitors came and stayed for three days or more; that contrasts with 13% of non-arts tourists;
  • 55% of all overseas visitors came for the arts and culture;
  • 36% of arts and culture visitors from within the province of Ontario stayed for three or more nights;
  • That jumps to 67% for Canadian out-of-province arts and culture tourists
  • 42% of arts and culture visitors from within Ontario came were on a day trip;
  • Of arts and culture visitors from outside of Canada, 72% stayed three or more nights, as compared to only 33% of non-arts and culture visitors
  • When it comes to arts and culture visitors from the USA, 44% stayed three to seven nights, and another 33% stayed for one or two nights.

They spend more:

Overall, 13% of unique tourist trips included arts and culture activities, but those trips accounted for 30% of tourist spending in the province.

More than 18.4 million unique tourist trips to Ontario included arts and culture activities, and they were part of about 1/8 of all tourist trips within the province.

It’s clear that the combination of arts, culture and travel is a winning one for the province.

Read the whole document [HERE].

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