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Banff tourism booking into 2017, busy summer underway

Tourism in Banff is expected to surpass records set last year as demand has businesses already booking into 2017, as "staycations" and the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar draw more North Americans to the Rockies.

American tourists, Canadian corporations are booking travel to Banff at record rates

Corporate groups from Canada are already booking with Banff tourism companies into early 2017. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Tourism in Banff is expected to surpass records set last year as demand has businesses already booking into 2017.

"Staycations" and the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar are drawing more North Americans to the Rockies.

"The phone is ringing off the hook," said Janet Doyle from White Mountain Adventures, a company that organizes adventure trips.

"I've been joking around saying Canada's on sale, that it's 25 per cent off everything. So there's a lot of Americans coming up because they can get more value for their money."

Doyle says corporate groups from across Canada have started to lock down contracts into February and March 2017.

2015 was a banner year with a 12 per cent increase in overall traffic according to Banff Lake Louise Tourism. But Doyle wouldn't be surprised if 2016 does even better — she and her staff say the rush began in January.

"Business is absolutely booming." 

Banff businesses expect 2016 to be another banner year for tourism, but say they are concerned about traffic jams and wildlife incidents. (CBC)

Doyle admits there's a downside — traffic congestion and increased incidents with wildlife.

She says it's all a matter of educating visitors who continue to flock to the Bow Valley.

"I think that it will only continue to grow as Banff continues to improve its quality of attractions and people are enjoying it." 

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