Tourism

Banff residents invited to comment on tourism master plan

“The tourism master plan will be the benchmark for sustainable tourism here and we want to get feedback from the community.”

BANF – Residents are invited to give their opinion on the future of tourism in Banff National Park.

As part of the development of the park’s 10-year tourism master plan, the community survey, which can be found at Tourismtogether.ca, will run until June 10.

Banff and Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT) officials say the master plan, which is being developed in conjunction with Town of Banff and Parks Canada, will consider the well-being of the local community, the environment and economic prosperity.

“So many things have changed because of COVID that it really gave everyone time to stop and think,” said Nancy DaDalt, BLLT Director of Visitor Experience.

“The tourism master plan will be the benchmark for sustainable tourism here and we want to get feedback from the community.”

A survey of stakeholders in the tourism industry was conducted in March to better understand their thoughts on future post-COVID-19 preparedness, key priority areas, and expectations for the overall future vision for local tourism.

The community survey is one of the next steps in the development of the master plan, which is expected to be completed by November.

In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, life in the bustling tourist city took a heavy toll on many residents, with more than four million visitors to Banff National Park each year.

In a 2018 Banff community social assessment, residents cited a dramatic increase in attendance and associated traffic congestion, which as a result was affecting their quality of life and sense of belonging.

In this assessment by the City of Banff, the challenges of living in a tourist town were ranked second by Banff residents to the high cost of living.

Residents talked about how busy life was and how there were no more downtime and off-season. They shared their concerns about increasing traffic congestion and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the impact on valuable wildlife in the park.

There has been constant frustration with getting in and out of the city on the busiest days due to traffic jams, which often happens during the busy summer months and weekends when there are special commercial events.

Mayor Corrie DiManno said it’s important for residents to share their thoughts in a survey of what sustainable tourism could look like and what they want from the future of the community.

“As we have heard from residents in the past, there are challenges as well as perks to live where the whole world travels and this tourism master plan will really focus on the well being of the community,” she said.

“This plan will indeed be co-owned by the City of Banff, Parks Canada and Banff Lake Louise Tourism and we will need the support of the community to move forward with any of the big ideas that come with this plan.”

Mayor DiManno…

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