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Yorkdale Shopping Centre announced today the launch of a new Tourism Program designed to further elevate Canada’s leading shopping centre as a global destination for international visitors. As a part of Yorkdale’s tourism strategy, the shopping centre will become the first Canadian shopping centre to accept UnionPay cards, the only domestic bank card in China and the leading card that visitors from China and other Asia-Pacific countries use while travelling abroad.

Yorkdale’s Tourism Program will also launch with exclusive shopping packages for tourists, multilingual website translation, and personalized tours for pre-registered groups, with additional services to be announced in the coming months.

“We recently surveyed visitors over several weekends and learned that approximately one fifth of tourist shoppers come to Yorkdale from outside North America,” said Lesley Boughen, Tourism Manager, Yorkdale Shopping Centre. “Many international visitors consistently rank shopping as a top activity while visiting Toronto. Our new tourism offerings will ensure that Yorkdale continues to be on the map for fashion lovers from around the world.”

“The Government of Ontario is committed to strengthening our tourism industry as a significant economic driver across the province,” said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.  “Through our efforts, we received Approved Destination Status in China which has led to substantial increases in tourism and economic activity over the past three years.  This new program addresses the needs of our guests from China and encourages them to explore and experience our unique retail industry – boosting business, economic activity and tourism in Ontario.”

With the launch of UnionPay cards at Yorkdale, it is now easier for visitors from Asia-Pacific countries to make purchases in Yorkdale’s 250 stores. UnionPay cards are accepted in-store by several Yorkdale retailers, or shoppers can simply visit Guest Services to purchase a Yorkdale gift card in a desired amount using their UnionPay card.  China represents one of the fastest growing tourist markets for the Toronto region with visitors from the country increasing by 55 percent in the past three years.[i] Chinese travelers spent $486 million while in Canada in 2012, a 19.2 percent increase compared with 2011.[ii] More than one third of Yorkdale’s tourist shoppers visit Toronto to primarily see friends and families (36 percent), while one fifth of tourist shoppers visit Toronto as a part of their vacation (twenty-one percent).[iii]

Attracting more than 20 million visitors annually, Yorkdale is one of the Greater Toronto Area’s most prominent tourist destinations because of its extensive retail mix and numerous exclusive-to-Canada stores.
The spring and summer of 2013 saw Yorkdale open a number of first-in-market retailers, including AllSaints, and Zara Home, while Canada’s first John Varvatos and White House|Black Market are scheduled to open before the holidays. Other prominent new stores include Canada’s second Massimo DuttiMulberry, and the city’s first Ferragamo boutique. The centre will break ground on a $331 million, 298,000 square foot retail expansion in early January 2014, which will be anchored by Nordstrom and open in fall 2016.

About Yorkdale Shopping CentreWith more than 250 shops and services Yorkdale Shopping Centre is Canada’s premier shopping destination. Yorkdale recently underwent a $220 million expansion – the largest and most significant expansion in its history –  growing to a total of 1.6 million square feet of retail space that features some of the world’s best fashion, technology and luxury brands. Offering 7,400 parking spaces, valet parking and seating reservations at the Dine on 3 food collection, everything about Yorkdale is designed to enhance shoppers’ experiences. Yorkdale is co owned by Oxford Properties and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and managed by Oxford Properties Group. Yorkdale is located at 3401 Dufferin Street, off Allen Road, near the 401. For more information, download the Yorkdale app, visit www.yorkdale.com, or follow @YorkdaleStyle on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

[i] Source: Statistics Canada.[ii] Source: Canadian Tourism Commission Tourism Snapshot: 2012 Year-in-Review.
[iii] Source: Yorkdale Shopping Centre Visitor Survey, 2013.



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