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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

New report: Arts and culture tourism in Ontario has triple the economic impact

November 16, 2023

Arts and culture tourists spend more, stay longer and are more likely to be from overseas

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is releasing a new report detailing the impact of arts and culture tourism in Ontario. Commissioned by OAC from Forum Research, the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile reveals the size and value of arts and culture tourism in Ontario, including significant economic impacts, and provides demographic information about arts and culture tourists who visit Ontario.
 Among the key findings from Forum’s analysis, which uses data from Statistics Canada, is that the average arts and culture trip has nearly triple the economic impact of non-arts and culture trips.
Cover page of Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile
The report also found that roughly $11.4 billion is spent on arts and culture tourism in Ontario, resulting in $5.7 billion in direct value-added to the province.

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 travelers choose to visit Ontario.”
The report was officially launched today at the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit, where Ontario Culture Days hosted a conversation between Michael Murray, OAC’s CEO, and Kathleen Sharpe, executive director of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, called Why You REALLY Want to Attract the Cultural Tourist. As Michael noted at the event:
  • “The tourism sector was among the hardest hit by the pandemic. The arts sector – also rebuilding itself in the post-COVID-19 – can play a key role not only in restoring pre-pandemic impact, but as part of a growth strategy for Ontario.”

More highlights from the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile    

  • Arts and culture tourists spend more: While 13% of unique tourist trips included arts and culture activities, those trips accounted for 30% of tourist spending in the province.
  • Arts and culture tourists stay longer: 40% of Canadian arts and culture visitors made trips of three days or more, while only 13% of non-arts and culture visitors did the same.
  • Arts and culture tourists are more likely to be from overseas: Nearly 1 in 3 international visitors to Ontario participated in arts and culture tourism.
  • Arts and culture activities featured in one eighth of all tourist trips to or within Ontario: Over 18.4 million unique tourist trips to Ontario included arts and culture activities.

For research inquiries

Elena Bird
Associate Director of Research & Analysis
416-969-7446 / ebird@arts.on.ca