Millions of tourists spend billions of dollars each year in Ontario. With the largest, most accessible market in North America, a skilled, multicultural workforce and an established domestic market, the tourism industry has discovered that Ontario is a premier four-season travel destination.

The largest and most accessible market in North America

With a population of 13.5 million and a border that stretches nearly halfway across the U.S., Ontario offers you unparalleled access to a large domestic market, along with an additional 141 million people living within a day's drive.


By investing in Ontario, your next big idea is guaranteed to reach a vast audience. With a population of 13.5 million and a border that stretches nearly halfway across the U.S., Ontario offers you unparalleled access to a large domestic market, along with an additional 141 million people living within a day's drive.

Ontario tourism receipts ($millions)
Year Tourism receipts ($millions)
1998 18,857
1999 20,051
2000 21,126
2001 20,949
2002 21,655
2003 19,431
2004 21,980
2005 22,614
2006 23,532
2007 23,802
2008 24,026
2009 23,524
2010 25,052
2011 26,266
2012 28,093
Source: Statistics Canada: International Travel Survey; Travel Survey of Residents of Canada; Travel Arrangements Survey

Welcoming 142 million tourists a year, Ontario remains the single largest travel destination in Canada, capturing 45% of the country’s tourism spending by overseas visitors and generating nearly $28 billion in tourism revenue annually.

Map: Number of visitors to each province

Total visits to Ontario
Year Total
2003 120,227
2004 129,495
2005 131,064
2006 131,758
2007 133,490
2008 130,758
2009 133,986
2010 136,292
2011 138,962
2012 141,680
Source: Canadian Visits: after 2010 : Statistics Canada, Travel Survey of Residents of Canada, for 2010 and earlier: Statistics Canada, bridging project and MTCS; International Visits: International Travel Survey, MTCS

(Note: 2012 figures are the most recent data available)

An established industry with more opportunities to come

Four distinct seasons offer year-round tourism opportunities and an impressive array of possibilities for investors in Ontario.


Niagara Falls, Ontario
With more than 6 million cubic feet of (168,000 m3) of water falling over its brink every minute, Niagara Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America and perhaps the most famous in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Canada is consistently ranked as one of the top country brands in the world and at its heart you'll find the picturesque province of Ontario. Internationally recognized tourist attractions such as Niagara Falls, Algonquin Provincial Park, Bruce Peninsula National Park, the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Blue Mountains, Manitoulin Island and the Rideau Canal bring people here in vast numbers. And for an investor, there are many diverse business opportunities with plenty of room to grow.


Kayaking on Lake Ontario

Home to more than 250,000 lakes, including the Great Lakes which hold one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, Ontario has 100,000 kilometres of canals, rivers and streams. Development opportunities abound for cruise operators, recreational outfitters and accommodation providers.

Four distinct seasons offer year-round tourism opportunities and an impressive array of possibilities for investors in Ontario.

Proven domestic market that continues to grow

A strong in-country market accounts for 86% of overnight stays across Canada, and 76% of overnight stays are Ontario residents traveling within their home province.


Canadian residents love to "staycation", taking overnight trips to explore their country. This strong in-country market accounts for 86% of overnight stays across Canada and 76% of overnight stays are Ontario residents traveling within their home province. In fact, 36% of all Canadian tourism spending happens here, in Ontario, where tourism receipts top $28 billion.

Ontario's tourism receipts by Ontario residents ($millions)
Year Tourism receipts ($millions)
1998 10,752
1999 11,576
2000 12,194
2001 12,107
2002 12,753
2003 12,244
2004 13,670
2005 14,493
2006 15,280
2007 15,726
2008 16,204
2009 16,527
2010 17,393
2011 18,319
Source: Statistics Canada: International Travel Survey; Travel Survey of Residents of Canada; Travel Arrangements Survey

Ontario's 151,000 tourism businesses are capitalizing on a strong, stable domestic market. As such, domestic tourists travelling throughout Ontario outnumber their U.S. counterparts by 990% and outspend the U.S. market by 380%.

In Ontario, your market is already here.

Competitive business costs and favourable tax rates

Business expenses in Canada are also the lowest in the G7, with business costs 7.2 percent lower than in the U.S.


Business expenses in Canada are also the lowest in the G7, with business costs 7.2 percent lower than in the U.S.

Canada offers the second-lowest labour costs among G7 countries, including wages and salaries, employer-paid statutory plans, payroll taxes and employment benefits.

Getting your business set up in Ontario is fast and convenient; it takes just five days to set up business here, compared to 12 in the U.K, 15 in Germany and 22 in Japan.

New Ontario tourism business investors also benefit from a marginal tax rate that has been cut in half since 2009, making it just 16.6% in 2014. Most of Ontario's tourism businesses are small to medium-sized enterprises and enjoy a reduced corporate income tax rate of 4.5%, while the streamlining of the corporate income tax and sales tax administration saves Ontario businesses $635 million in reduced compliance costs each year. It's no wonder that Ontario is among the top three destinations in North America for foreign direct investment.

Business location costs
Country Cost advantage/disadvantage relative to the US (%)
Canada 7.2
Netherlands 5.5
United Kingdom 5.4
France 2.6
Italy 1.2
Japan 0.8
Australia 0.7
United States Baseline
Germany -0.9
Source: KPMG LLP (Canada), Competitive Alternatives 2014

Highly skilled, multicultural workforce

Ontario is naturally diverse and multicultural, home to residents from over 200 ethnic backgrounds who speak more than 150 different languages.


Ontario is naturally diverse and multicultural, home to residents from over 200 ethnic backgrounds who speak more than 150 different languages. Strict enforcement of equal opportunity laws, government mandated health and retirement benefits, and industry regulations have helped make Ontario a destination of choice for tourism professionals.

Eating at a Chinese restaurant

As Ontario's 14th largest employer, the tourism industry employed 334,069 in 2011, while tourism-related industries employed an additional 211,277 people. Tourism here is a year-round industry, with more than 63% of tourism workers in full-time positions.

Tourism businesses in Ontario enjoy access to a highly skilled and educated population. In Ontario, 65% of adults have completed post-secondary education - a rate higher than any OECD country, and 20 percentage points higher than the U.S. With more than 20 post-secondary hospitality programs, Ontario's tourism workers have the specialized knowledge you need to make your next big idea a success. You’ll have access to an available supply of highly skilled, industry-ready graduates eager to deliver a great brand experience in a variety of languages.

You'll also find it easier to retain talent here. Our friendly cities, stable economy, robust public services - including comprehensive healthcare - and affordable cost of living make Ontario the ideal place to live and work.

By flight, rail, road or vessel, Ontario has it all

Ontario offers a modern and efficient transportation infrastructure that includes five international airports, 14 land border crossings and 16,500km of highways.


Ontario offers a modern and efficient transportation infrastructure that includes five international airports, 14 land border crossings and 16,500km of highways, making getting in and around Ontario convenient for domestic and international tourists.

Pearson Airport, Terminal 1

Pearson International Airport in Toronto is the fourth largest entry point into North America, with direct flights to 54 U.S. and 99 other international cities. It serves 36 million passengers with over 500,000 flights annually.

Toronto's Union Station is Canada's busiest multi-modal passenger transportation hub, a designated National Historic Site, and a significant part of Toronto's identity. Each day, more than a quarter-million people travel through Union Station.

This means visitors to our province can arrive at your site smoothly and quickly from multiple destinations.

Business-friendly government that values the tourism industry

Thirteen regional tourism organizations work alongside tourism businesses to maximize and market Ontario investments.


Blue Mountain village - Collingwood, Ontario

Promoting Ontario as a premier tourism destination and an unparalleled investment opportunity is a top priority for the provincial government. You can expect personalized service and access to an array of incentive programs - Ontario is an enthusiastic partner in your business success.

Ontario supports the sector through a number of initiatives offered by the provincial government and public agencies. Thirteen regional tourism organizations work alongside tourism businesses to maximize and market Ontario investments.

The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) acts as the province's central marketer and is mandated to help grow the province's tourism industry. OTMPC collaborates with tourism partners to develop and deliver integrated, research-driven marketing programs that reinforce Ontario as a strong economy and a premier, four-season travel destination.

Incentives for tourism investment

The Province of Ontario wants to see your tourism investment succeed. It has developed support programs designed to reinforce your decision to invest, plan and grow.


The Province of Ontario wants to see your tourism investment succeed. It has developed support programs designed to reinforce your decision to invest, plan and grow.

Northern Ontario wilderness
  • The Eastern Ontario Economic Development Fund is an excellent example of how Ontario helps its tourism investors grow their businesses. The fund provides grants of up to $1.5 million to expand tourism businesses (or bring new ones) to communities in Eastern Ontario. In addition, investments of more than $10 million that also create more than 50 new jobs may be eligible for a loan of up to $5 million.
  • The Southwestern Ontario Economic Development Fund works similarly to the Eastern Ontario fund, but is for creating or expanding tourism businesses in communities in Southwestern Ontario.
  • The Tourism Development Fund provides financial support for feasibility studies and site selection while supporting projects that result in investment attraction, product and experience development, and industry capacity building.
  • Celebrate Ontario helps new and existing festivals and events enhance their programs, activities and services to grow Ontario’s tourism market. The program also supports bid and hosting costs of major one-time events and festivals that attract out-of-province visitors.
  • The Tourism Event Marketing Fund and Industry Partnership Proposal Program provides financial support for marketing activities that drive tourism. Successful event marketing strengthens and extends Ontario's brand image and helps Ontario tourism operators showcase Ontario as a four-season destination.
  • The refundable Co-operative Education Tax Credit is available to employers who hire students enrolled in a co-operative education program at an Ontario university or college. The maximum credit for each work placement is $3,000.

Contact us for tourism investment site opportunities in Ontario

Because of Ontario's immense size, many municipalities have identified lands that are "market-ready" for new tourism investment.


Toronto, Ontario at night

Bloomberg lists Canada as the second most attractive country for business in the world in its annual "Best Countries for Business" 2014 rankings.

Because of Ontario's immense size – an area almost as large as France, Germany and Italy combined - many municipalities have identified lands that are "market-ready" for new tourism investment. From wilderness to farmlands, forests to canyons, sand dunes to vineyards, cities to beaches; our investment opportunities range from accommodations to attractions, culinary, entertainment and retail. To help find your new tourism investment a home in Ontario, please contact us.

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