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Economic Impact of Tourism

Assessing the Economic Impact of Tourism in Bruce County is an annual undertaking of the County by its Planning and Economic Development department. Data is collected from multiple sources – shared data from major tourism operators, business surveys, and visitor surveys.
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Economic Impact of Tourism 2019

The Economic Impact of Tourism Report

The framework for the Economic Impact of Tourism Report was initiated in 2018 integrates data from multiple sources – shared data from major tourism operators, business surveys, and a visitor survey.

In 2019, the Economic Development team worked on conducting over 500 surveys of our visitors, as well as 87 local tourism-related businesses to develop the 2019 Economic Impact of Tourism Report.

The Methodology and Research

2019 marked the second year for the Economic Impact of Tourism Report. In 2018, the Bruce County Economic Development team worked to develop a standardized framework for the collection and analysis of tourism data. This framework integrates data from multiple, existing sources to develop a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that is used to evaluate the economic impact of tourism on Bruce County and the effectiveness of local efforts to promote regional tourism.

The data collected in 2018 provides a baseline against which change can be measured. The year-over-year changes highlighted in 2019 - and in future assessments – give entrepreneurs and investors meaningful, accurate data to support their business decisions.

Data is collected annually from three sources*:

  1. Partner organizations, such as Parks Canada, Ontario Parks, Ontario Ferries, and more
  2. Survey of regional businesses that interact directly with visitors (conducted by Bruce County)
  3. Survey of randomly selected visitors (conducted by Bruce County)

* Additional survey data is collected from across Ontario every three years using an outside vendor. 


Key Highlights from 2019


  • 2.5 Million visitors
  • Over 95% are likely to visit Bruce County again next year
  • An Economic Impact of Tourism of $326.7 Million

Business Survey 

One of the steps of the process is to complete an annual survey of regional businesses that intersect directly with visitors to gather an estimate of tourist activity. Although subject to sample error, it can provide data on a broader set of activities and with sufficient response rates produces estimates on categories of expenditures.

The businesses were contacted by email or by phone and explained the objectives of the survey. If they agreed to complete the survey, they were given the choice to complete it online or over the telephone. More than half of the businesses surveyed are collecting or tracking data for their business. Of these, the most commonly collected data is retail, point-of-sale data or cash register receipts; food and beverage sales; and hotel occupancy rates.


  • Business report that on average visitors spend about $224 at their establishment in 2019, but this figure varies by business type.
  • Peak season started in June for 28% of businesses surveyed in 2018; grew to 35% in 2019, indicating peak tourism season began earlier in 2019.
  • Peak season ended for 40% of businesses in September in 2018; grew to 53% in 2019, indicating peak tourism season ended earlier in 2019.

Let’s Learn More About the Visitors in Our Communities

The Economic Development team is once again collecting data from Bruce County visitors (defined as anyone who travelled over 40 kilometres) to develop the annual Economic Impact of Tourism Report. This information is used to learn more about our current visitors, their travel habits, spending behaviours, and identify opportunities for growth in our communities.

Bruce County staff will be contacting businesses, like you, to gather your insights on tourists visiting your business. Please complete the intake form letting us know it's okay to schedule a short call with you in late August and September.

Visitor Survey

The purpose of this visitor survey is to gather data on key indicators, such as the reason for the visit, primary activities undertaken and estimated spending during the visit. For the purposes of this research, the scope of the visitor survey is limited to domestic, in-province visitors, which comprise over 80% of visitors to Bruce County. The survey is conducted with a sample of at least 300 Ontario residents 18 years of age and older who have visited Bruce County for a business, pleasure, or personal trip within the past 12 months. The sample is balanced by age, gender, and region to be representative of Ontario residents according to the most recent Census data.