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Banff is an important tourist attraction in Canada. People are attracted by the beautiful nature in the Banff National Park, both in summer and in winter when you can ski. You can also visit caves and people come to Banff for the hot springs.
The town has almost 9,000 inhabitants. In recent years the population has grown significantly because of increasing tourism. To protect the surrounding National Park, Banff has applied a residence stop. Only those running a business in Banff can take up permanent residence.
Banff is located in the west of Canada, in the Rocky Mountains along the Trans-Canada Highway, 126 kilometers west of Calgary. It's situated within the Banff National Park at an altitude of over 1,400 meters. The town is surrounded by summits, including Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay and Cascade Mountain.
Banff has only one economic sector: tourism. The town attracts visitors all year round, in summer months to hike through the beautiful National Park; in winter months for winter sports.
Calgary International Airport is situated northeast of town. There are connections with several cities in Canada, the United States and Central America, and there are also direct flights to European cities like London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Banff has a public bus system since 2008. These so-called Roam buses are hybrid buses, beautifully decorated with scenes from the National Park. There are two lines: line 1 runs to Sulphur Mountain, line 2 to Tunnel Mountain. In addition, Banff's train station is a stop for the Rocky Mountaineer and Royal Canadian Pacific tourist trains.
Banff is trying to discourage the use of cars in the town itself as much as possible. Street parking is therefore expensive. The city council prefers for you to park your rental car at one of the parking lots at the verge of the center and to continue by foot or bus. At these parking lots you can park your car without limitation; at the lots within the city a time limit applies.
Being a tourist center, Banff has no shortage of accommodation, but spending the night in town isn't cheap. Most hotels are located along Banff Avenue and Tunnel Mountain Road. If you dispose of a rental car, it's cheaper to stay at the nearby Canmore.
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