August 3 2010 by Bryson Forbes
For the third consecutive year, Banff National Park in Alberta has been selected as the favourite domestic attraction by travel agents across Canada. The Travel Agents Choice Awards, which began in 1999 by the Baxter Media Group via Travel Press and Travel Courier, received feedback from more than 4,000 travel professionals to come up with this year's winner.
Banff, named for the Scottish birthplace (Banffshire) of two original directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway, is a relatively small resort town population-wise with only 7,500 people who call it home. However, the park itself is massive, covering more than 6,600 square kilometres. More than four million people have visited Banff every year since 1996.
The key to Banff's success and the reason it's the marquee Canadian destination can be categorized by three main factors;
- Scenic Beauty - Banff's elevation of 4,537 feet makes it the highest town in Canada and creates a wonderful platform from which to see the Canadian Rockies. From the Bow River to the glorious lakes to the more than 1,000 glaciers, visitors can experience a number of great sites and activities such as spectacular passageways, hiking trails, golf courses and ski slopes. Banff also has a huge elk population which are known to wander into town, with cute black bears and big grizzly bears never far behind. There's truly no better place to get a true taste of everything the Canadian wilderness has to offer than Banff.
- Access - At just 130 kilometres from Calgary along highway 40, getting to Banff is easy. To put that in perspective, visitors flying from San Francisco or Los Angeles in the morning will arrive in time for dinner in Banff.
- Infrastructure - There's no shortage of outstanding places to eat, drink and stay in Banff. The park's many wide-ranging attractions make Banff a great place for corporate retreats, weddings and vacations. Banff is also surprisingly affordable, with nice and wallet-friendly accommodations available. The pet-friendly Best Western Siding 29 Lodge, for example, is right in the heart of town and features rooms like Jacuzzi-kitchen suites with fireplaces and amenities such as balconies, a heated indoor pool and hot tub, laundry facilities, an underground heated parking lot, free hot breakfast and Wi-Fi.
4,000 travel professionals are right - Banff is glorious, easily accessible and features many world-class amenities. If you've never been, make sure to add it to your bucket list.