Toronto spending up 8% during Pan Am Games

Spending by international visitors was up 260%

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TORONTO – A new study suggests people — particularly tourists — spent more money in downtown Toronto and near Pan Am venues during the Games compared with the same period last year.

The study by the payment processing company Moneris is based on debit and credit card transactions between July 10 and 26.

While the study doesn’t include cash purchases, the company says it gives a general sense of spending during the international competition.

It says people spent nearly eight per cent more in downtown Toronto. Spending on international cards, however, rose by close to 19 per cent.

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Entertainment was a big draw, with people spending just over 53 per cent more — and international visitors spending about 260 per cent more.

Hotel expenses increased by about eight per cent overall, and about 20 per cent for foreign visitors.

Spending jumped around the Rogers Centre the days of the opening and closing ceremonies — roughly 12 and 19 per cent, respectively, over the same day last year.

There was a nearly seven per cent boost near the Ajax ballpark on days with baseball competitions, and an increase of about 14 per cent near the velodrome in Milton on days with track cycling events.

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Hamilton, which hosted Pan Am soccer, saw consumer spending rise about 10 per cent.

Moneris spokesman Rob Cameron said it’s clear the jump is related to the Games.

“We didn’t see that big of an increase at other points of the year and for entertainment, as a category, to be up 50 per cent is clearly driven by something going on, and that something was the Pan Am Games,” Cameron said.

“What really struck me was that clearly, based on the foreign card spend being so much higher year over year … (was that) there was a lot of tourists in Toronto.”

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