Does the passport requirement put off many from visiting? Was there much more tourism from the US to Toronto back when passports weren't required to cross back and forth?How can we make sure more Americans find it easier to travel to the GTA? ( I would first argue for incenting Americans who book an overnight stay here by agreeing to rebate the cost of their passport if obtained in the preceding six months.
For those international travellers that are flying long-distance visiting the Toronto area or nearby areas of Ontario more generally who would like nature, Algonquin Park three hours or so away is a good place to go, especially if they have nothing like it in their home country.Internationally, beyond advertising, I think we have to do a better job of playing to our strengths. People from Europe arent' coming just for the cafes; or our museums, nor are folks from Asia coming just to admire our skyline or the busy streetlife.
They will come here for what they can NOT find at home. I think selling nature is a key part of selling our City. That will include the naturalized Don Mouth, and Rouge National Park; but more obviously
includes Niagara Falls and for that matter the Escarpment. We can offer a lot more nature within an hour's drive than the vast majority of Europe or Asia.
The cultural diversity is definitely a great thing worth displaying more to outsiders (I know even though we pride ourselves on at least claiming to be the most multicultural city, there are many people from other cities and countries that are quite unaware that Toronto is diverse).Our diversity really can be our strength as well, in that we really do have more quality cuisine and clothing from more cultures than the vast majority of cities on earth.
That said, we don't do a good job of highlighting it. Our principle Chinatown lacks an archway; our 'little India' isn't particularly mesmerizing, despite what it does offer.
The same could be said for many other 'ethic nodes' where we have critical masses of retail/restos of one variety or another.
It needn't be kitch, but it does need to feel distinct and special.
However, I'm not sure if many people specifically visit cities to see diversity primarily (though it is a great bonus) as the other major diverse cities -- NYC, LA, London, Sydney etc., have tourist attractions that were already there aside from the cultural/ethnic diversity to see.