The Toronto International Film Festival will receive a two-year grant of $4.9m (C$6m) from the Canadian government to promote Toronto to the world.

The cash injection – C$3m for each of the next two festivals - is to be directed toward increasing out-of-town public audience, diversify programming, improve service, sustain out-of-town delegate attendance, and boosting awareness of the host city both nationally and internationally. TIFF will need to re-apply for the second tranche through the Marquee Tourism Events Program following the 2009 event, which runs September 10-19.

TIFF has an annual budget of $16.3m and typically draws more 1,000 journalists each year. There were 470,000 public and industry admissions at TIFF 2008, including attendance at the new Yonge-Dundas Square public programming.

Speaking at an announcement in Toronto, TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling thanked the Canadian government for the investment in both the festival and its city. “For ten days every September, the vibrancy of the city and the festival make Toronto the international destination for film lovers and industry alike.”

TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey added, “Toronto and all it has to offer has been a significant factor in TIFF’s success.” He said that the funding will allow TIFF to improve the audience experience and promote the culture of Toronto while showcasing “the importance of film.”