Johanne Bélanger, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto and Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company signed the agreement, exchanged gifts and explained details of the partnership to media at a press conference, which was held yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.
The two-year alliance is the first city-to-city tourism partnership of its kind for Toronto and the first Canadian partnership for NYC & Company. It includes a collaboration agreement between the two DMOs, the exchange of marketing assets to boost reciprocal travel, and the sharing of best practices in tourism marketing. This collaboration will eventually extend into the business events markets.
“We don’t know what that will look like yet but our teams are discussing it,” Bélanger explained in response to a question from Meetings +Incentive Travel. “We both see real opportunity in the business events market.” Dixon agreed.
In addition to the signing, Steve Goodfellow, Air Canada’s director of sales, Eastern Canada, was at the press conference to announce the launch of a sale in celebration of the partnership. Available for bookings made by October 23, 2017, the sale offers fares from New York City to Toronto as low as $87 USD one-way, and from Toronto to New York as low as $155 CAD one-way, for travel until February 15, 2018 (total fare including taxable fees. A seven-day advance purchase and conditions apply).
According to Bélanger, New York is the ideal city for Toronto Tourism’s first city-to-city partnership. “Toronto and New York City are the financial, entertainment and cultural centres of our two nations and this partnership goes a long way to share our big-city experiences with each other’s residents and visitors,” she said. “Both cities are similarly built upon diversity and inclusion and we are proud to showcase that sense of welcome to the world together”
“We are proud to sign a first-ever partnership with Toronto, our fantastic neighbours to the North,” said Dixon. “New York City and Toronto share so much in common and both cities wholeheartedly embrace their diversity and multicultural dynamism, positioning both destinations as attractive and welcoming hubs for global travel. We look forward to cultivating our city-to-city collaboration with Toronto over the next two years and using the expanded relationship to boost more travel between Toronto and New York City.”
The city-to-city partnership includes a swap of marketing and advertising assets to influence seasonal travel. Both cities will exchange $500,000 in assets to promote the other destination in their respective city.
As part of the agreement, New York City and Toronto will also share best practices in tourism management to increase the number of visitors between both markets in the years ahead.
Canada is New York City’s third largest source of international visitation. Last year, the city welcomed 928,000. In 2017, that number is projected to grow to 938,000. Toronto is the largest source market of visitation from Canada to NYC.
In 2016, Toronto welcomed 2.8 million American visitors—the eighth consecutive year of growth from the U.S. market. New York State is the largest source market within the U.S. at 637,000 visitors and the greater New York City area accounts for approximately half of that total.