As a four-season destination, Barrie relies on tourism as an important economic driver. The numbers help tell the story of its importance: in 2019, over 2 million domestic visitors contributed $300 million to the local economy1 and supported over 8,000 jobs in Barrie.2 An additional 85,000 international visitors came to the Barrie area, spending almost $36-million.3
Emerging from the pandemic, early signs of recovery are evident and show a desire for visitors to return to Barrie and embrace all it has to offer.
Tourism Plans & Projects
Community Benefits of Tourism
A healthy tourism economy supports a community and its residents in numerous ways. Hotels, restaurants, retail shops, taxi drivers, artist studios, resorts, festivals, tour companies, rental providers – they all benefit from a healthy tourism economy.
Ultimately, a successfully implemented tourism plan results in more people becoming aware of and attracted to the city, increasing the draw of permanent residents. Done strategically, attracting tourists that are aligned with our local talent needs turns the visitor of today into the employee or investor of tomorrow.
Other ways tourism benefits Barrie’s residents include:
- Spin-off investments by the private sector resulting from City investments can add to the economic strength of the community including additional hotels, restaurants, retail, and entertainment operations.
- The City can expect a return on investment in the form of business and property tax revenues, which helps fund services.
- The citizens of Barrie also benefit by way of improved and new infrastructure, new businesses, and new activities and services.
Invest Barrie's Tourism Development portfolio applies the strategic tourism lens across internal functions at the City, including arts and culture development, special events, recreation, parking, communications, planning, and parks, and aligns with the City’s Official Plan.
Balancing Residents' and Tourists' Needs
A healthy and sustainable tourism program is one that addresses the long-term health of the community, beginning with its residents. Public consultations and community engagement are used to understand and incorporate those needs into decision-making.
Frequently Asked Questions
1Statistics Canada. 2022. Special Tabulation, based on National Travel Survey: All Quarters 2019 for Census Sub-Division of Barrie. The National Travel Survey (NTS) is a voluntary monthly survey on domestic travel and tourism.
2OMAFRA. 2021. EMSI Report: Regional Requirements (Barrie).
3Statistics Canada. 2022. Special Tabulation, based on Visitor Travel Survey: All Quarters 2019 for Barrie CMA. The Barrie CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) includes the city of Barrie, the town of Innisfil and the township of Springwater. The Visitor Travel Survey (VTS) provides travel and spending information on visitors to Canada from the United States and overseas. Because of the pandemic, VTS data collection was suspended in March 2020.