NYC & Co. and Tourism Toronto made history yesterday with the signing of a new partnership cross-promoting travel between the two destinations, along with sharing of marketing assets and best management practices.
Tourism Toronto President and CEO Johanne Bélanger and NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon signed the agreement - the first ever city-to-city tourism partnership of its kind for Toronto and the first Canadian partnership for NYC & Company – at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 18), marking the beginning of an agreement highlighted by the shared values and worldview of the two cultural capitals.
“Today there are some questions about where people are welcome and in New York, we hold the same values which we’ve always held,” Dixon said, adding that concerns about the potential impact of recent political rhetoric in the U.S. to tourism were raised following the 2016 presidential election.
“In Toronto, diversity and inclusiveness have always been part of our story,” added Belanger. “That message just resonates more now because of certain things taking place in the world.”
Residents of both cities will first notice increased marketing of the other destination, as New York and Toronto exchange more than $500,000 in promotional assets: in New York City, advertisements will appear on bus stop shelters across all five boroughs beginning Oct. 23, 2017 for eight weeks to promote Toronto. New York City advertisements will be featured in Toronto through out-of-home media and radio beginning the third week of November and running into February 2018.
Belanger told PAX that plans for dual-city leisure travel packages are being developed, which will involve the travel trade; further out, development of MICE packages will take a similar approach.
“We think that’s an easy one to do - a two-city, two-country package is a no-brainer,” Belanger said.
To help get travellers back and forth between the two cities, Air Canada has announced a seat sale with 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 Feb. 15, 2018.
Canada is New York City’s third largest source of international visitation—last year, the city welcomed 928,000 visitors. 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 important 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.