Banff tourism gets currency bump

If you are planning a trip to Banff anytime soon, you may have to share the sidewalks with a few more people. Thanks to a tourism boom, the town is busier than it has been in years.

Low Canadian dollar keeps tourism dollars local

Parks Canada says they are looking at an increase of 7% in visits this year. (CBC)

If you are planning a trip to Banff anytime soon, you may have to share the sidewalks with a few more people.

Thanks to a tourism boom, the town is busier than it has been in years.

Banff Avenue is bustling on a mild February afternoon.

Frances Boutin is visiting from Saskatchewan with her family.

Frances Boutin from Saskatchewan is spending her tourism dollars in Canada this year. (CBC)

She says, they are staying in Canada this year for a few reasons.

"Quite often we might go down to Whitefish, Mont., but with our Canadian dollar we chose to stay in Canada and vacation here," Boutin said.

"We love the mountains, we love Banff."

Parks Canada is anticipating a seven per cent increase in the number of visits this year.

Nancy DaDalt is the director of in-resort services at Banff and Lake Louise tourism.

Nancy DaDalt with Banff and Lake Louise tourism says the low Canadian dollar is paying off for Banff restaurants, retailers and hotels. (CBC)

She says a weak Canadian dollar means tourists are coming from all over.

"Well we're seeing a big change from Alberta, lots of Albertans coming to their park, of course," DaDalt explained.

"And Canadians in general, more from Ontario, more from Quebec. And we're seeing an increase of course from the United States too."

Music to the ears of Blair Cowan, who works at Park Distillery on Banff Avenue.

Blair Cowan with Park Distillery on Banff Avenue says most weekends, they are lined up out the door. (CBC)

"Every night we have wait lists up to 45 minutes to an hour, Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights," Cowan said.

"It slows down Sunday, Monday … but through the weekend we are booming."

DaDalt says they're also seeing increased tourism from China, Korea and India and they're coming at all times of the year.

She says the biggest increases are in off-peak travel seasons.

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