New report shows tourism impact on Niagara’s economy

Tourists visiting Niagara pumped $2.4 billion into the local economy, says a new report from Niagara Economic Development.

Using data compiled in collaboration with Statistics Canada, the inaugural Niagara Tourism Profile report​ shines a light on the significant economic benefit of tourism to Niagara in terms of overall jobs, business activity, visitors and expenditures. It is the first report to provide a comprehensive understanding of the tourism industry’s contribution to Niagara’s economy.

The report shows the majority of the tourism dollars spent in Niagara were generated by Canadian visitors (65%), followed by visitors from the United States (27.3%) and visitors from overseas (7.7%).

Tourism jobs are increasing at a faster rate than total jobs in Niagara and that the number of people working in Niagara’s tourism sector has grown significantly over the past several years. As of 2018, tourism supported a total of 39,995 direct jobs in Niagara, an increase of 6,059 jobs, or 17.9%, over 2011. Job growth in tourism far outpaced the rate of total job growth in Niagara, which was 14.1% for the same period.

Tourism creates more employment opportunities relative to total jobs in Niagara than it does compared to Ontario and across Canada, according to the report. The concentration of tourism jobs relative to total jobs in Niagara is 1.8 times that of Ontario and 1.7 times that of Canada.

The Niagara Tourism Profile also provides an interesting snapshot of the types of businesses that have developed to support Niagara’s strong tourism sector. The statistics show Niagara has more employer businesses (businesses that provide jobs) in tourism than non-employer businesses. In 2018, the tourism sector in Niagara comprised 2,834 total businesses, including 1,546 businesses that had employees on a payroll and 1,278 that did not have employees.

Niagara’s tourism sector is largely dominated by small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Of the businesses with employees in 2018, 67.8% had few than 20 staff, 28.8% had between 20 and 99 employees and 3.4% of businesses had more than 100 employees.

The report also provides detailed information on how many people visit Niagara, where they come from and the purpose of their trips. In 2017, a total of approximately 12.9 million people visited Niagara. Ontario remained the latest market for tourists to Niagara (8.4 million visitors), followed by the United States (3.2 million), overseas (1.1 million), and then the rest of Canada (292,000).   

The top reasons for tourists to visit Niagara were pleasure (60%), followed by visiting friends or relatives (27.1%), unspecified personal reasons (5.7%), business (3.7%), shopping (2.4%) and personal conferences (1%).

Niagara Economic Development intends to produce the Niagara Tourism Profile on an annual basis, incorporating the latest data available.

Niagara Tourism Profile Key Stats:

  • Total tourism jobs (2018): 39,995
  • Tourism job growth 2011-2018: 4,667 jobs (17.9%)
  • Total tourism businesses (2018): 2,824
  • Total tourism businesses with employees (2018): 1,546
  • Total tourism businesses without employees (2018): 1,278
  • Total visitors (2017): 12.95 million
  • Total overnight visitors (2017): 4,929
  • Total same day visitors (2017): 8,018
  • Total tourism expenditures (2017): $2.4 billion
  • Total tourism expenditures of overnight visitors (2017): $1.7 billion
  • Total tourism expenditures of same day visitors: $686.4 million

Quotes

"We have known for many years that tourism is vitally important to Niagara’s economy, but this report gives us a much more detailed understanding of the sector and the benefits it brings to our region. This research can help our tourism and economic development partners better plan for future growth."
~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair

Contact

Peter Criscione
Niagara Region
905-980-6000 ext. 3747
peter.criscione@niagararegion.ca


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