Enigma Report Proves Pride Toronto an Economic Force

Pride Toronto 2009 Brings $136 Million in Economic Benefits

TORONTO, Nov. 16 /CNW/ - More than just a chance to watch the many colourful parade participants and take in the sights and sounds of a visitor-packed Church and Wellesley Village, Pride Toronto today announced the total economic benefit of Pride Week 2009 has been estimated at $136 million, with $94.3 million derived from tourists visiting Toronto from over 80km away.

"Toronto and all of Pride's volunteers over the years really have something to be proud of," said Tracey Sandilands, Executive Director of Pride Toronto. "They have built a world-class festival that celebrates our community's shared values and creates real economic benefits for our city."

Notable benefits for Toronto included $41.7 million spent by local residents, the equivalent of over 600 year-round full-time jobs in Toronto, and a contribution of $29.7 million to Toronto's GDP. According to this year's Economic Impact study conducted by Enigma Research Corporation, Toronto's hospitality sector enjoyed tremendous benefits, with $12 million spent at Toronto hotels and $33 million at restaurants and bars across the city.

"These economic benefits are exceptional," says Enigma's Michael Harker, who has conducted dozens of special event impact studies. "The estimates are considerably higher than we have seen at many similar sized festivals and sporting events throughout North America."

Researchers also estimated the overall return on the federal government's investment of $397,500. According to the study, the Marquee Tourism Events Program funding accounted for $6 million of the event's tourism-related spending and injected $4.2 to Toronto's economy.

"We're thrilled to see proof of what we've always known - Pride Toronto is an event of great benefit to our community and our city," said Sandilands. "The festival is important in many ways for the communities and cultures we celebrate, for the Church and Wellesley Village, and for the economies of Toronto and Canada."

Pride Toronto 2010 planning and events are already underway. Pride is also in the process of starting planning for WorldPride 2014, which last month was awarded to Toronto at the InterPride 2009 conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Quotes

"Planning for 2010 is already well underway, and we are hearing great ideas to improve a number of elements of Pride Week, particularly the market place. Current plans include expanding of the festival site to include Queens Park, adding two new stages and beverage gardens, revamping the market place and the affiliate events program and holding year-round Pride events beginning in the fall."

Tracey Sandilands, Executive Director of Pride Toronto

"Pride Week has always been a great event for Voglie Ristorante & Lounge - both financially and because of the energy it creates amongst our guests. Our establishment is always swamped with locals and visitors from all over the world who want to celebrate and bring unity to the community. We're very proud of the work that Pride Toronto does - the festival gets bigger and better every year."

Lia Buggemi, Proprietor & Chef, Voglie Ristorante & Lounge on Church Street

Quick Facts

An estimated 411,450 visitors attended Pride Week. The average Pride visitor attended about three Pride events, resulting in just over 1.2 million visits to the festival.

One quarter of attendees travelled more than 80km to attend the festival. Among this group of visitors, more than one-third came from outside Canada.

Of the attendees who stayed overnight, one-half stayed in a hotel and another 42% made arrangements to stay with friends. Visitors from the United States stayed an average of 4.7 nights while other international attendees stayed almost twice as long, at 9.5 nights on average.

    
    Of 1200 responses to a separate survey conducted during Pride Toronto
    2009:
    -   21% of survey respondents extended their visit to Pride Week in
        Toronto with a pre or post festival stay in the Toronto region or
        travel to other parts of Canada
    -   52% of respondents plan to return to Toronto before Sept 15, 2009;
        and a further 16% will return between Sept 15 and December 31, 2009
    -   As a result of Pride 2009, 80% are "very likely" to return to Pride
        Week 2010 for the 30th Anniversary
    

The full study is available at www.pridetoronto.com.

Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts Pride Week, an annual festival held during the last week of June in downtown Toronto. Pride Toronto exists to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto's LGBTTIQQ2S communities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirited) and is one of the leading cultural events of its kind in the world. Toronto's Pride Week has been named the Best Festival in Canada by the Canadian Special Events Industry, is recognized as one of only Eight Signature Events in the city of Toronto, and is ranked as one of the TOP 50 festivals in Ontario by Festivals and Events Ontario. Pride Toronto celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2010.

SOURCE PRIDE TORONTO

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Tracey Sandilands, Executive Director, Pride Toronto, Tel: (416) 927-7433 x222, mobile (416) 524-4554, Email: edirector@pridetoronto.com, www.pridetoronto.com

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PRIDE TORONTO

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