Tourism and Hospitality
Tourism and Hospitality

Toronto is a centre for tourism in North America. It is a centre for business meetings, conferences, networking events and art and cultural festivals.

In 2012, Microsoft will host its major conference in Toronto that alone will bring 15,000 people and generate an expected $52 million in economic activity. The number of tourists coming to Toronto is increasing, especially from Brazil, India and China.

The Tourism sector consists of five components: accommodation, food and beverage services, transportation, recreation and entertainment and travel services. The nature of the work varies from working on a ski slope, to developing marketing strategies for an international organization, to preparing gourmet meals.

The accommodation and food services employ 76,000 people in Toronto, 12,000 jobs are in accommodation and 65,000 in food and beverage services. The transportation sector is responsible for 50,000 jobs, while recreation sector provides 14,000 jobs.

Forty percent of jobs in tourism are held by teenagers or young adults. Older workers, aged 45 years or older, are the second largest group of workers in tourism.

Immigrants are an important source of labour for tourism industries in the Toronto CMA, holding 27.3% of jobs. Tourism skills are transferable around the world. Depending on the nature of the job, work may be part-time or full-time. Individuals who cross-train for several occupations increase their chances of finding full-time employment all year round.

Businesses offering travel services in Toronto provide the most full-time year-round employment (62.5%). The food and beverage services group employ the most part-time workers.

Canada’s tourism sector is facing a potentially severe shortage of labour over the next 15 years as market conditions are gradually improving. The potential supply of labour in the tourism sector is projected to grow slower, creating a potential shortage of up to 42,000 people by 2025. Recreation and Entertainment and Food and Beverage Services have the greatest potential for labour shortage. Program leaders and instructors in recreation and sport as well as food and beverage servers, food counter attendants and kitchen helpers are among the top occupations that are expected to have the most significant shortages by 2025. Within the Recreation and Entertainment industry significant shortages are also expected for landscaping and ground maintenance labourers, attendants in Amusement, Sport and Recreation, Casino occupations. The Accommodation industry is expected to see some of the largest increases in potential tourism labour supply over the next 15 years. Within the subsector, the largest labour shortage is projected for hotel desk clerks.

The transportation industry is also predicted to grow over the next 15 years. Within the transportation industry, the largest projected labour shortages are for bus drivers, subway and other transit operators. Shortages are also expected for: ait pilots and flight engineers, airline sale and service agents, and flight attendants, aircraft mechanics and inspectors.

The travel service industry is expected to experience only a slight labour shortage. The largest shortages will be seen in positions other than travel counsellors that account for 56,7 % of the industry’s employee jobs or retail trade manager.

Labour Force

The tourism sector has more women working than men in some sub-sectors of the industry. Women are a bit overrepresented in the Tourism sector, accounting for 52% of jobs in the tourism industry. A higher proportion of women working in tourism were less than 25 years of age (41%) compared to men (36.8%) Women are underrepresented only in one industry group-transportation.

Age profile 

The tourism labour force is significantly younger than the Canadian Labour force as a whole. In the tourism sector one third of workers are 15-24 years old, compared to 15% in the Canadian Labour Force. Forty percent of jobs in tourism are held by teenagers or young adults. The Food and Beverages industry group has the highest percentage of workers less than 25 years-69.4%. Two tourism industry groups have a notably older workforce-45% of employees in Air Transportation and 63,3% of employees in other types of transportation are aged 45 years and over.

Educational attainment 

Forty-two percent of the total Tourism Labour Force has at least some post-secondary education compared to 60% of the Canadian Labour Force. 28.4% of the total Tourism Labour Force attends school compared to 16.7% of the Canadian labour force.

Key facts 
  • Tourism spending in Canada reached $75 billion in 2008 and the sector’s contribution to Canada’s GDP was 2.2%.
  • According to the 2008 Labour Force Survey $1,75 million people were employed in Canada’s tourism sector, which represents 10.2% of all the employment in the country.
  • One in four tourism workers is foreign-born.
  • The six occupations in the tourism sector that had the most foreign born workers in 2006 were: taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs (58%), executive housekeepers (38%), restaurant and food service managers (36%), light-duty cleaners (35%), and travel counsellors (34%).
  • To attract and retain workers from outside of Canada, tourism employers are using Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Provincial/Territorial Nominee programs more than in the past.
  • Most tourism workers born outside of Canada are employed in Toronto.
  • Toronto could experience a Labour Shortage equivalent to 11.4% of the demand for tourism labour over the next 15 years.
  • Shortages in Toronto are projected to be more acute in Food and Beverage Services.
  • Forty-one percent of the province’s tourism labour force is in Toronto.
  • Businesses offering travel services provided the most full-time, year-round employment in Toronto (62.5%).
  • Workers in Food & Beverage Services receive the highest levels of gratuities, presumably compensating for the lower wages in this industry.
  • Bartenders and Food & Beverage servers receive the highest gratuity levels while Housekeeping room attendants and Cooks tended to see the lowest gratuities.