Celebrating a Milestone: The First Annual Oshawa Tourism Report

The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce  is proud to announce the publication of our first annual report on Oshawa Tourism, marking a significant milestone in our ongoing partnership with the City of Oshawa. This report highlights the remarkable outcomes from the renewed investment in tourism, driven by Oshawa’s relatively new municipal accommodation tax.

The City of Oshawa‘s progressive thinking has been instrumental in leveraging tourism as a powerful economic growth lever. The City’s selection of the Oshawa Chamber as their service delivery partner has allowed us to leverage a portion of the relatively-new Municipal Accommodation Tax to resource our Tourism practice as a separate line of business that operates adjunctly  to our core work as a chamber of commerce.

To Oshawa Chamber members, this means that the Tourism team focuses on Tourism and the Chamber team stays focused on Chamber business, although there are obvious occasional points of intersection.  This strategic focus by the City on tourism as an economic development lever aligns perfectly with the Chamber’s long-standing vision to build community prosperity, as reemphasized by our new strategic plan. The plan’s new strategic pillars: “We challenge the status quo, tell our story in bold new ways, foster prosperity through convergence, and do what we say we’ll do,” provide our team a compelling jumping-off point to continuously improve the means through which we deliver community prosperity.

A Year of Achievements

In its first full year of operation Oshawa Tourism made significant strides. Our efforts, detailed in the 2023 Annual Report, include the successful production of three major events: Boujee Bites, Convergence, and the revitalized 76th Annual Oshawa Santa Claus Parade of Lights. These events received overwhelming community support and participation, showcasing Oshawa as a vibrant and attractive destination.

Our marketing initiatives have been equally impactful. Quarterly campaigns have not only encouraged visitation but also fostered a renewed sense of pride among many residents. Our social media presence has grown impressively, with our reach expanding to 160.2K on Facebook and 52.6K on Instagram, underscoring our commitment to engaging with both locals and visitors through dynamic digital content.  We are exceptionally pleased with these numbers, considering that our entire digital practice was launched from zero only as recently as November of 2022.  (For added context, we vividly remember freezing our tails off at the City’s 2022 Bright & Merry Market, serving free hot chocolate and hustling to get our following up to 300 people!)

Drone photo of the 2023 Convergence Art & Music Festival as headliners The Strumbellas close out the day.
Headliners The Strumbellas close out the 2023 Convergence Art & Music Festival in Downtown Oshawa.

Economic Impact of Tourism

Tourism is a critical driver of economic development, and our report highlights several key metrics that demonstrate its impact. For instance, the annual hotel occupancy rates in Oshawa have seen a 1.6% growth from 2022 to 2023, achieving the highest occupancy rate since 2019. This increase in occupancy translates to significant economic benefits, as tourism spending supports local businesses, creates jobs, and generates tax revenue.

Moreover, the report reveals that Oshawa attracted over 459,801 visitors from Toronto alone, alongside significant numbers from other nearby cities. This influx of visitors underscores the potential for targeted marketing and partnership initiatives to further enhance visitation and spending in our downtown and other key areas.

Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement

The GOCC has been proactive in developing and implementing strategic initiatives to promote Oshawa as a premier destination. The launch of www.OshawaTourism.com, the city’s first dedicated tourism website, has been a pivotal step. This ever-evolving resource centralizes information on Oshawa’s attractions, culinary delights, events, and businesses, making it easier for tourists to plan their visits.

Photo of the Oshawa Tourism team's booth at the City of Oshawa's 2023 Peony Festival
The Oshawa Tourism team’s booth at Oshawa’s 2023 Peony Festival.

Our engagement with the community has also been robust. The formation of the Tourism Advisory Committee and the development of the Strategic Community Tourism Plan reflect our inclusive approach, ensuring that our strategies are community-informed and stay best aligned with local aspirations.

Perhaps most importantly, the Tourism Advisory Committee helps us best understand how to deliver tourism operator enablement, including our recent (and also Oshawa’s first-ever!) tourism operator’s meetup.  Many of these businesses have long considered themselves obvious tourist attractions, but not necessarily had a ready network of collaborators.  Some are even seeing themselves as tourism draws for the first time ever.  We look forward to seeing how their creative collisions continue to drive interesting new attractions for Oshawa residents and visitors.

Building Community Prosperity

Tourism plays a vital role in building community prosperity. It not only boosts the local economy but also enhances the quality of life for residents by supporting a diverse range of amenities and cultural activities. Research confirms that tourism can significantly contribute to economic development. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and supported 319 million jobs in 2018, demonstrating its potential to drive economic growth and job creation.

By focusing on tourism, the Oshawa Chamber is leveraging a high-impact strategy to foster community prosperity. Our initiatives, such as the Oshawa Culinary Compass and the Hometown Tourist Challenge, are designed to promote local businesses and encourage residents to rediscover and take pride in their city.

Read the 2023 Oshawa Tourism Report

We invite you to delve deeper into our efforts and achievements by viewing or downloading the full 2023 Oshawa Tourism Annual Report. This comprehensive document provides detailed insights into our initiatives, impacts, and future plans.

View/Download the Oshawa Tourism Annual Report

Together, let’s continue to support and grow Oshawa’s tourism industry, ensuring it remains a vibrant and attractive destination for both residents and visitors. Your participation and engagement are key to our collective success as we focus on sharing the story of Oshawa.

We’re please to acknowledge the progressive thinking of the City of Oshawa, and appreciate our shared vision and look forward to a prosperous future where tourism continues to be a cornerstone of our economic and community development and even how we as residents simply further enjoy our community. Thank you for your continued support and involvement in making Oshawa a dynamic hub of culture, innovation, and community spirit.

Picture of Jason King

Jason King

As the CEO of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, I blend entrepreneurship and B2B tech marketing expertise to bring you essential news and insights. Join me in navigating the business landscape as we work together to foster growth, collaboration, and build community prosperity in the heart of Oshawa.

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