The $27 billion dollar industry that flies WAY under the radar


When most people think of the industries that drive our economy, the meetings and events industry doesn’t typically race to mind. But it should be high up there considering it provides a staggering $27.5 billion in direct revenue to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product and creates over 340,000 jobs in Canada (FYI – that’s 2% of all the jobs in the country!).

Are you surprised?

In terms of its impact on the economy, the business events industry is comparable to agriculture, forestry, fishing and the arts and entertainment industries in Canada….and yet it doesn’t receive the same imperative support or recognition.

The Business Event Industry Coalition of Canada (BEICC) – an organization I volunteer for – is working hard to rectify that. The BEICC is comprised of members from a range of events associations and was formed to create a strong united front within the events industry.

Here are a few fun facts to pass on to your friends and colleagues:

Fact. The business meetings industry comprises 1.5% of Canada’s total GDP

Fact. 585,000 business events were held in 2012 (many of which were run – in full or in part – by dedicated event planners).

Fact. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa account for 41% of these 585,000 events and drew 17.3 million participants that year!

Fact. Business events supported $55 billion in economic activity in 2012.

From 2012 to  2013, the BEICC conducted a Canadian Economic Impact Study on the meetings and events industry where some of these impressive facts and overwhelming statistics came to the forefront. The results were plain and powerful: Business events – from huge conventions and trade shows to small conferences and seminars – have become a BIG business in Canada.

As a conference and event expert with over 20 years of planning experience, I wholeheartedly believe that the Canadian government and Canadian citizens  in general ought to know more about how critical this industry is as a driver of economic growth.

The unfortunate reality is that Canada’s reputation as a top desirable destination has plummeted from the second most desirable destination in 1970 to 10th in 2011 and the 18th in 2012.

Why is Canada losing ground? Perhaps if people understood more about the quality of Toronto’s conference and event options, professionals from the US and beyond would be quicker to arrange trips to educational and networking conferences.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether any of these statistics surprised you, and why. Contact me today to share your thoughts or visit SGP Conferences and Events for more information about how we can help you bring your upcoming conference or event to life.


Susan Phillips

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