Canada’s Largest Festivals and Events : An Economic Impact Study

In 2009, the Canadian Festivals Coalition commissioned a report that measured the substantial economic impact of 15 Marquee Tourism Event Program (MTEP) stimulus fund recipients.

The groundbreaking Economic Impact of Canada’s Festivals and Events study revealed:

  1. Millions attend Canada’s largest festivals and events each year
    • Estimated 12.6M visits at Canada’s 15 largest events
    • 3.3M visits by tourists including 1M from outside Canada
  2. More than $1B in new spending generated by the largest events
    • Estimated $780M spent by tourists visiting 15 largest festivals and events
    • Additional $300M in local event-related operational expenditures
  3. New spending at events contributes $650M in GDP to local economies
    • GDP derived from tourism and operational spending
    • Average large festival contributes $43.2M to local GDP
  4. Spending support considerable employment and tax revenue
    • Equivalent of 15,600 full-year jobs supported by the largest events
    • Spending supports $283M in tax revenue at all three levels of government

Measureable economic impact

Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME) aims to the raise the awareness of the importance of the festivals and major events sector to the Canadian economy, and our direct contributions to the tourism industry.

FAME members are seeking a form of public sector venture capital to leverage additional money from earned revenue and sponsors to facilitate incremental expansion, improved programming and enhanced promotional initiatives – not funding to subsidize existing budgets.

Our funding recommendations reflect the challenges and opportunities facing our sector and are consistent with the government’s efforts to increase revenues through strategic investments, resulting in measurable economic impact.

Investment brings results

The Marquee Tourism Event Program (MTEP), while a short-term stimulus program, was very effective. The two-year, $100-million investment program breathed new life into the sector, even in the midst of an economic downturn. Through the stimulus fund, festivals and events were able to leverage partnerships, find matching dollars from the private sector, including sponsorships, and expand marketing efforts. This resulted in attendance growth, job creation and major economic spinoffs at both the regional and national levels.

Read the study