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Park Hyatt's bartender & 2012 Spirit Awards winner of Lifetime Achievement Award to retire!
After 57 years working the rooftop lounge at the corner of Bloor St. and Avenue Rd., 75-year-old Gomes is retiring. His last shift is Oct. 28. Read more here.
Susie Grynol Assumes Role as President of the Hotel Association of Canada
The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is pleased to announce Susie Grynol as its new President.

Susie joins the HAC from the Retail Council of Canada, where she served as Vice-President, Federal Government Relations since 2013. As an accomplished, dynamic and fully bilingual executive Susie has over 10 years of experience managing political affairs and public relations and has a proven track record in overseeing complex industry issues and delivering successful outcomes. Read press release here.
Ontario Adds 16,200 Jobs in September
The September job growth brings the total increase in employment since the recessionary low in June 2009 to more than 600,000 jobs. The majority of net new jobs in Ontario are full time positions in the private sector and in industries that pay above average wages.

Ontario's unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent in September, and has been lower than the national average for 17 months in a row. Read more here.
Ontario Tourism Performance Newsletter Q1 2016
The Q1 2016 edition of the Ontario Tourism Performance Newsletter, ONtourism is now available here.

This quarterly publication reports the latest tourism statistics including; Border Crossings, Accommodation Statistics, Travel Price Index, Economic Indicators, Consumer Response Indicators and Special topic - Travel Balance.
Last Year's Ontario Deficit $3.5 Billion Lower Than Projected
Ontario's Annual Report and unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements for 2015-16 show Ontario's deficit is $3.5 billion lower than the $8.5 billion projected in the 2015 Budget, with the province's deficit for 2015-16 at $5 billion. This is $0.7 billion lower than the $5.7 billion in the 2016 Budget interim projection. Read more here.
Four Seasons Toronto sold for C$225 million
Shahid Khan, the founder of Flex-N-Gate Group and CEO of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League and the historic London-based Fulham Football Club, announces that he has today arranged through various family holdings the purchase of a 100 percent ownership of Four Seasons Hotel Toronto from an affiliate of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).

The sale price of C$225 million was confirmed upon closing. The purchase has been approved by all appropriate regulatory bodies. See article here.
Ontario Increasing Minimum Wage on October 1
As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on October 1, 2016 - the third consecutive year it has increased. Read more here.
Ontario Tourism Current Performance Indicators July 2016
The Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators have been updated with July 2016 data.
Marriott Buys Starwood, Becoming World's Largest Hotel Chain
Several of the best-known names in travel are now united in one hotel company.

Marriott International closed Friday morning on its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, bringing together its Marriott, Courtyard and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood’s Sheraton, Westin, W and St. Regis properties. Read more here.
Airbnb cutting into available rentals in city, study shows
In a study published Thursday, CCPA says the home “sharing” platform is reducing Toronto’s already constrained supply of rental housing, endangering the licensed hotel business and jeopardizing the character of some of the city’s prized neighbourhoods.

Shared accommodation represents the minority of Airbnb rentals in Toronto, according to the CCPA study. There are almost twice as many listings for complete homes or condos as there are for rooms. Read more here.
Chelsea Hotel, Toronto Raises $100,000 for SiclkKids
Canada’s largest hotel, Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, is a proud supporter of SickKids Foundation, the largest charitable funder of child health research, learning and care in Canada which provides critical support for patients at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions. As part of SickKids Foundation’s Donor of the Week celebration, Chelsea Hotel will present a cheque for C$100,000 on Tuesday September 20, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. in the Atrium at SickKids. See press release here.
Ontario Prepares to Celebrate 150th Anniversary
Ontario will mark next year's 150th anniversary of Confederation with Ontario150, a year-long celebration that will honour the past and help chart a course for the future.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement today in Ottawa alongside Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Ontario will support hundreds of community-based projects that will leave lasting social and cultural legacies across the province and contribute to economic growth. Read more here.
Toronto's Pearson International on pace to break passenger record
A boom in summer travel is propelling Pearson International Airport in Toronto to record levels of passenger traffic, bolstering the airport’s goal of becoming one of the world’s elite international airports by 2020.

About 9.6 million people travelled through the airport between Canada Day and Labour Day, putting Pearson on pace to break its 2015 record of 41 million passengers annually. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority envisions Pearson reaching the status of “mega-hub” by the end of the decade – an airport that handles at least 50 million passengers a year, with 20 million of those travelling to or from international destinations. Read more here.
2,379,215 great pieces of news for our tourism industry
Numbers were up this summer! Check out June’s Monthly Tourism Snapshot for key statistics, including details on Destination Canada’s key markets and how we stacked up against our competitors.

Monthly Tourism Snapshots for previous months can be found on the GTHA's website under Industry Stats page.
WSIB Premium Rate Reduction of 13.2% Announced
September 14, 2016: Today, at the WSIB Annual General Meeting, WSIB announced that beginning in 2017 the average premium rate will decline by 5%; the first rate reduction in more than 15 years. The WSIB also announced that another 5-10% total reduction to the average premium rate may be considered between 2018-2019. This  will depend on the health of the economy and other financial results. For rate groups that impact GTHA members:

Rate Group 921: Hotels, Motels and Camping will see a premium rate reduction of 13.2%  from $3.10 in 2016 to $2.69 in 2017.

Rate Group 919: Restaurants and Catering  will see a premium rate reduction of 8.1%  from $1.72 in 2016 to $1.58 in 2017.

The GTHA has been involved in the WSIB file for a significant amount of time.  The GTHA President & CEO Terry Mundell is Chair of the General Business Advisory Committee of the WSIB that meet on a regular basis with WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer and President & CEO Thomas  Teahen to provide input on issues that benefit both injured workers and employers.

Read more about the announcement here.

Joint Press Release between Canada and the People’s Republic of China
The 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism will allow the Canadian tourism industry to build on its already strong relationship with China, and create new opportunities to grow one of our largest markets.

Seven additional visa application centres are also scheduled to open, which will help serve a growing number of Chinese tourists who would like to visit Canada. Read more here.
Throne Speech Announces Electricity Cost Relief, New Child Care Spaces
As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, the Ontario government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would rebate an amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on residential, farm and small business electricity bills as of January 1, 2017. Rural electricity ratepayers would receive additional relief and commercial, institutional and industrial ratepayers would also benefit from lower electricity costs. Read more here.
Best Western Celebrates 70 Years
Over the course of 70 years, it would be easy for a major hotel chain like Best Western to grow stale. But for CEO David Kong, the company's 70th year is merely a continuation of a fresh era for the brand. Following its 2015 identity revamp, under Kong's leadership the company has continued moving away from its roadside motel roots into a contemporary, vibrant chain shaped with the youthful traveler in mind. Read more here.
Ontario Adds 10,500 Jobs in August
Employment in Ontario increased by 10,500 in August -- including gains in a number of sectors such as finance and construction.

Ontario's unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent in August, and has been lower than the national average for 16 months in a row. Read more here.
12 questions to help you prepare for this fall’s chemical handling blitz
From September 19 to October 31, Ministry of Labour inspectors will fan out across the province, visiting workplaces to check records, observe, and ask questions about their chemical handling practices.

WSPS occupational hygienist Ilma Bhunnoo offers 12 sample questions that can help you assess the comprehensiveness of your chemical handling program. Ask yourself these questions with the spirit of the blitz in mind: "It's about prevention, not just compliance," says Bhunnoo.

Read more and see the 12 questions here.
Creating Awareness for the prevention of harrassment
Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) in cooperation with OTEC has announced an advanced training and awareness program to prevent sexual violence and harassment in the hospitality industry. This program will deliver expert knowledge through two online learning modules, five case studies on successful industry practices, one manager’s toolkit and an overall awareness building campaign. Read more here.
Celebrate Ontario 2017 Now Accepting Applications
Province Investing in Festivals and Events to Boost Tourism and Create Jobs
Ontario is encouraging festival and event organizers across the province to apply for Celebrate Ontario 2017 funding.

Celebrate Ontario is a grant program that makes it easier for festival and event organizers to offer new and improved experiences that attract more tourists and increase visitor spending. Last year, the program supported 200 festivals and events across the province, boosting local economies. Read more here.
The Omni King Edward Hotel among the Nominees Finalists for Best Historic Hotels in the Americas
Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide have announced the nominee finalists for the 2016 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence, taking place Nov. 3 at The Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu. Read more here.
Hotelier: Tim Reardon. Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto
When Tim Reardon was growing up in Dudley, Mass., he never imagined he’d work in the hotel industry. But shortly after becoming a bartender at an Orlando resort, he began to see the appeal “I knew with conviction this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life” he recalls. Read more here.
Anto Vrdoljak and Melany Hugo Take on New Roles at IHG
Existing IHG associate Anto Vrdoljak is the new manager of Business Development for the company’s Franchise Development Team. In his new role, Vrdoljak will be working with hotel owners to identify franchise opportunities for Canadian mid-scale brands, which include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. Vrdoljak joined IHG in 2013 as regional Sales and Marketing director for Eastern Canada. He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Read more here.
Ontario Tourism Current Performance Indicators June 2016
The Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators have been updated with June 2016 data, view it here.
Monthly Tourism Snapshot Infographic – June 2016
Over the first six months of 2016, the Canadian tourism industry has seen significant growth with over 7.9 million international visitors.

A preview of June’s Monthly Tourism Snapshot is available here.
Monthly Tourism Snapshot and Infographic – May 2016

The complete May 2016 Tourism Snapshot and the supporting infographic is now available, click here.

This provides the tourism industry with information on key Destination Canada market visits to and from Canada, performance of competitors, and other tourism related statistics.

Green Key Program Enrollment Offer
Reduce operational costs, increase efficiencies, expand staff and guest engagement and market your hotel as a sustainable property by becoming a member of Green Key Global. Join today and get $25 off your yearly membership. See more information here.