Our country saw nearly 20 million international travellers in 2016 and Windsor tourism officials say local numbers were also very strong.

The national stats indicate a 16 per cent spike over the previous year, including a record number of Americans flying to Canada, according to Destination Canada.

Canada narrowly missed an all-time record, set in 2002.

According to Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, the feds no longer keep regional stats.

“When Canada's performing well, Ontario's performing well, so are we regionally here," says Orr.

Instead, the local agency looks at key performance indicators, like hotel occupancy, which saw a 15 per cent increase in quarter four of 2016.

Tunnel trips were up four per cent and visitor centres at Caesars Windsor and Devonshire Mall were up 31 per cent.

“They're all up,” says Orr. “As long as they continue to perform well, then the industry as a whole is also."

Orr says the latest stats from 2012, show 4.8 million visitors to this region, bringing a half-billion dollars into our economy annually and supporting 16,000 jobs in the sector.

He says sports and convention tourism in 2016 alone pulled in tens of thousands of tourists along with their money.

Many of those sports tourism initiatives are taxpayer subsidized, but plenty of tourism is not publicly funded.

Adriano Ciotoli of Windsor Eats took a bite out of tourism in this region last year.

"Windsor is a fantastic place," says Ciotoli.

His privately-funded tourism initiatives, including wine trail rides, Bikes and Beers, and Friday Night Lights saw an 84 per cent increase in 2016.

“In 2016 alone, from May to October, our riders spent over $100,000 in local establishments, that's direct spending," says Ciotoli.