Banff officials expect busy season to continue despite wildfire smoke

Click to play video: 'Officials expect Banff visits to continue amid smoky conditions' Officials expect Banff visits to continue amid smoky conditions
WATCH ABOVE: Wed, Aug 15: Tourists visiting Banff National Park were greeted with hazy skies Wednesday. Joel Senick explains why officials don't expect the conditions to keep many visitors away – Aug 15, 2018

B.C. wildfire smoke in Banff National Park may make it harder for tourists to take in the sights, but officials don’t believe it will turn away many visitors.

Forest fire smoke from British Columbia has blanketed the region, causing Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement for Banff and the surrounding area.

READ MORE: Calgary, Jasper, Banff recording highest temperature increases in Alberta

Angela Anderson, a communications official with Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, said there wasn’t a “significant slowdown” in visitors last year when the park dealt with a similar situation.

“It’s kind of similar to any other type of weather,” Anderson said.

“There are a lot of things that you can do in Banff that are either indoors or less strenuous than maybe a hike up a mountain or something like that.”

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On Wednesday, Banff had no shortage of visitors walking down its main street, passing through restaurants and stores. On the outskirts of the townsite, Robyn and Dave Tew ate lunch with their family, while looking into a smoke filled sky that blocked the view of the region’s mountains.

“You can’t see anything. It’s kind of like the mountain — you can’t see it until it’s in your face,” said Robyn, who traveled to Banff from Ontario.

“It’s still been a great trip. There’s a bunch of us here together.”

A family visiting Banff eats lunch while taking in a smoke-filled view Wednesday. Loren Andreae/Global News

Tourism officials said they will continue to monitor the wildfire situation and urged visitors to do the same, since the conditions can change daily.

READ MORE: Banff tourism sees modest 5% increase in 2017, despite free park passes

Wednesday was one of the smokiest days Banff has seen this year according to Anderson, however, she added that the skies were crystal clear only days earlier.

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“Plan ahead, look at what you’re planning to do and you might need to adjust depending on your preference or your health,” Anderson said.

“The next day could look very different.” ​

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