Tourism spikes in mountain parks amid Alberta economic slump

The low dollar and weak energy prices attracted more people to the mountain parks this summer, making it a record season for hotel and tour operators.

Low Canadian dollar attracts U.S. visitors to Banff, Jasper, and prompts locals to stay closer to home

Tourists were hitting the streets of Banff in droves this summer. (CBC)

The low dollar and weak energy prices attracted more people to the mountain parks this season, making it a record season for hotel and tour operators.

Banff, Jasper, and Waterton all experienced an influx of visitors over the summer, with double-digit growth in some months in the 10 to 30 per cent range.

The soft dollar is making Alberta more attractive to tourists from the U.S. and abroad, but it's also convincing locals to take trips in their own backyards, says Travel Alberta CEO Royce Chwin.

"Because our economy obviously is soft here as we know from energy, rather than perhaps planning the big trip out it's a reminder, you know what, we've been meaning to do this trip for quite a while, let's go visit the parks or let's go to a museum or let's take a road trip up through the north."

Chwin says Alberta's two major cities are not seeing the same phenomenon. Hotel occupancy rates for both Calgary and Edmonton are down.

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