Banff generates $7.5 million a day for Alberta

Banff continues to generate significant tourism and economic benefits for the rest of Alberta.

The overall province-wide economic impact from the tourist town for 2017 was $2.735 billion, which is up from $2.245 billion in 2015. The average daily province-wide economic impact last year was $7.5 million.

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With about four million visitors a year to Banff, and predicted ongoing growth, Banff hotels are packed full for much of summer and also doing well in the slower months.

Officials say that unlike Alberta's main oil industry, which accounts for a quarter of the provincial economy and has attracted more than $100-billion in investment over the past decade, Banff relies on tourism.

“It's quite amazing, honestly, to see how well Banff as a destination is doing compared to other destinations in Canada and certainly, sadly, compared to the economy in the rest of the province,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen.

“We need to know that we are very, very blessed to be doing so well in the industry we're in.”

The Alberta government has been looking to tourism, in part, to help the oil and gas slump. It wants to boost revenue from visitors to the province by about 25 per cent to more than $10-billion by 2020.

Tourism accounts for about 4.3 per cent of the provincial economy, and Banff is a big part of that.

Hotel occupancy numbers provided by Banff Lake Louise Tourism show July and August at 93 per cent full, while the average occupancy throughout the year was 72 per cent.

The average daily rate for a hotel is $250, but jumps up into the $300s for the peak times in June, July, August and September.

“This is a good news story,” said Sorensen.

Provincial taxes generated from Banff were $191,901,161 in 2017. Federal taxes were $348,053,715.

Coun. Chip Olver said Banff did see money returned by way of a $12 million grant for the province for the Ti'nu housing development, currently under construction to provide 131 below-market rental units.

“The province-wide economic impact of $2.735 billion from our little town, and provincial taxes generated $191 million, show there's really a lot of money going out of here to help support the entire province,” she said.

“It's nice to see some of that coming back.”

Economic impact calculations are from the Town of Banff's modeling tool created by Econometric Research Limited as part of the 2016 Banff, Jasper and Canmore tourism economic impact study.

© Virden Empire-Advance

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