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Banff tourist economy

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Banff tourist economy

Question for the locals-

I was recently in banff on vacation. In Canmore and banff for a week. I understood that the summer is the busy season, but nothing seemed very crowded to me. A few restaurants were busy at dinner, but in general no crowds and all hotels seemed to have 'vacancy' signs. Is this normal? As a visitor is was great - much less crowded than US national parks.

Banff Adventures
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Toloco Tours
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seattle
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1. Re: Banff tourist economy

I work for tour companies and just came from Banff also. My bus company based in Banff says tourism is way down and the groups just aren't coming in as much. US Based tour operators used to consider the Cdn Rockies one of their most popular destinations but most of my trips I am one of the only American groups on the Rocky Mtnr. A lot has to do with the exchange rate, the taxes and personal choice of where to travel. Its a wonderful place to visit so hoping the tourists come back

Alberta, Canada
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2. Re: Banff tourist economy

I'm not a local, but as a Canadian I'll chime in here. In 2010, instead of going to the Canadian Rockies, we decided to do a road trip to YNP, GT, GNP, & The Black Hills and had a great trip. This fall we'll be going again, to see things we missed the first time. We love the Canadian Rockies and it's been about 13 years since we've been there but we chose the states for the following reasons: comparable scenery & wildlife, exchange rate, more variety in shopping, cheaper accomodations, slightly cheaper meals, cheaper gas, less taxes, better fee structure (for us) for the parks, etc. In general, I feel that our dollar goes further in the states, and I'm obviously not alone in my thinking; the proof is in the numbers. We'll get back to the Canadian Rockies sometime, but again, not this year.

Banff, Canada
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3. Re: Banff tourist economy

Yes, this is fairly normal, in terms of the "new normal" (post 2008). Certainly bus group travel is down and we have fewer American visitors than in some past years. Our Canadian guests make up a larger portion of our visitors. And it is rare now to see "no vacancy" signs all along Banff Avenue, something that would have been common all summer in the late 90s.

Having said all that, I think perhaps sometimes we give the wrong impression on TripAdvisor with reference to crowds. When someone on TA says that Banff is crowded in summer, they may mean more crowded than at other times of year, which is still nothing like the number of people encountered in many other places.

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip, and hope you'll come back often!

Edited: 04 August 2012, 06:23
Australia
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4. Re: Banff tourist economy

I think the exchange rate has a lot to do with it. For countries like the US and UK Canada used to be a bargain destination but now its a bit more pricey as their currencies have taken a dive.

My 2 cents anyway : )

Greater Sydney...
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5. Re: Banff tourist economy

It is my perception that there are a lot more enquiries from citizens in the lower 48 on the Alaska forum this year which seems to sit well with your theory, roremc.

Banff National...
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6. Re: Banff tourist economy

There are lots of speculative comments here that deal with small and incomplete pieces of information. Just to give readers some real, factual data to consider I will share some statistically accurate visitation data regarding US visitation to Banff National Park.

Between 2007 - 2011 total annual visitation to Banff National Park was around 3.3M and varied only by as much as 3%.

Comparable research done in 2003, 2008 and 2011 measured the proportion of US visitors. The results were consistently around 23% with a variation of only 1%. This data accounts for both independent and tour group visitors.

Rearward facing metrics will be the judge of US visitation in 2012 but one can see that, despite all of the economic fluctuations, US visitation has remained fairly constant.

I hope these facts cut through the conjecture.

Jervis Bay...
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7. Re: Banff tourist economy

BanffFacts

It will be interesting to see what 2012 results are. We are going to the Rockies in 2013. It will be a once in a lifetime trip if current costs remain the same because for the same price as it is costing us (going independently and I work it out in detail) for 4 weeks in Canada/Alaska we had 8 weeks in europe (and that was before the current good exchange rates and huge drops in accommodation rates in Europe offered at the moment.)

The Rockies accommodation is really expensive and so is food and car hire and on top of it all you have tips & tax.

Edited: 09 August 2012, 20:59
Banff, Canada
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8. Re: Banff tourist economy

Banfflakelouise would have the tourism bureau's numbers on how the regional, rest of Canada, US, Europe, Asia and other foreign segments have been tracking over time. I looked on the tourism bureau website but couldn't find numbers to link to.

Alberta, Canada
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9. Re: Banff tourist economy

My feelings are that the park fee is too high for people to come to hike, canoe and enjoy picnics for a few days. It would cost a family alot. I think in US they are high too. I'm just against high fees for NPs.

Jasper, Canada
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10. Re: Banff tourist economy

Venusalberta, it's a bit less than $20 a day for a family (or more specifically, a group of up to 7 people in the same vehicle) to come and enjoy the national parks.... peanuts compared to a day at Disneyland or a waterpark. Of course it was much easier when the funds for roads, trails and picnic areas just came from government funding (through taxes), but now that it doesn't (and hasn't since 1995), it's got to come from somewhere.

It's going to be "interesting" to see what happens over the next couple of years in terms of funding for national parks. The budget for JNP earlier this year cut park funding drastically, meaning the park is even more reliant on the gate fees and other user fees. And then Mother Nature has not been kind to Jasper National Park this year - the huge snowpack from last winter, on top of the monumental rains of earlier this summer has resulted in flooding and a huge hit on infrastructure here. 5th bridge at Maligne Canyon is currently closed, awating assessment - the high water levels on the river have eroded the banks around the concrete footings that hold the bridge up - this bridge is a critical part of the very heavily used part of the front-country trail infrastructure, and essential to the winter use of the area - without it, there will be no icewalks in the canyon (which Parks Canada indirectly draws revenue from, in the way of license fees to the companies who offer these activities). The Maligne Road was closed for four days last week after a mudslide - I'm sure the wages and machinery cost to clear it were not anticipated in the budget (I have lived here thirty years now and such a thing has never happened in that time). Then, a few days later, an icefall at Mt. Edith Cavell caused flooding which damaged the road, the picnic area, the parking lot and the outhouses, closing the area - ominously, there has been no word yet on when it will re-open. The trail crew for the entire national park (over 10,000 sq. kilometres - there are countries smaller than this!!), which has thousands of kilometres of trails, consists of 4 people (!!), and with the amount of bridges washed out and trees down, they have more than enough work to keep them busy for many years.

And yet people gripe about paying a fee to use the park.