Banff National Park, the draw for the towns of Banff and Canmore, is, of course, one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations. This week it released some numbers confirming the rebound. Last month the park had 694,127 visitors, the largest July attendance in almost a decade. And from April through the end of July, about 230,000 more people visited than during the same period last year.
But when I made my way through the crowds in town with David Matys of the Banff and Lake Louise tourism authority, it became apparent that many things had not returned to their prepandemic state.
One of the most obvious was the comparative lack of buses carrying overseas tourists. Mr. Matys told me that in 2019, Canadians made up about 60 percent of the crowd, while about 25 percent were American, and the remaining 15 percent were people from the rest of the world. This year, the breakdown is 90 percent Canadians, with Americans making up a vast majority of the remainder.
“People started getting outdoors more during Covid or wanting to be outdoors,” Mr. Matys said as we strolled down Banff Avenue, the main street, which ends at the park’s iconic administration building. “And I think that desire is carrying on.”