The cancellation of business conferences and conventions across the country is costing cities hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues as the COVID-19 pandemic craters the broader tourism industry.
Tourism Toronto says the city will be down 120,000 business visitors from April through June due to major event cancellations and postponements such as the Collision tech conference, depriving the metropolis of an estimated $250 million in spending.
Montreal’s tourism association says at least 70,000 hotel bookings and $55 million in sales will evaporate in the same three months after more than 120 events — including the National Hockey League draft — were pushed back or called off.
Vancouver is facing a similar crisis, with scores of business bookings cancelled through December amid ongoing border shutdowns and bans on group gatherings.
Andrew Weir, Tourism Toronto’s vice-president of destination development, says the ripple effect reaches beyond the hospitality sector to hit small businesses ranging from audiovisual companies to transportation services and musical acts.
He says about one-quarter of the $10 billion in economic activity generated annually by tourism occurs in the second quarter, with “nearly all of it” now lost.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2020.
The Canadian Press