It's good news for tourist attractions in southern Alberta.

According to Chinook Country Tourism, overall, tourist attractions in southern Alberta have already seen a bit of an increase in visitors this year.

Executive Director Nikolaus Wyzlousil says they look at trends each year. For 2013-2014, Banff saw an 8 per cent increase in visitors and Waterton 2 per cent, with most heritage sites and museums increasing by 2.5 percent, while the Calgary and Edmonton airports seeing more passengers.

Wyzlousil says our milder winter has contributed to the increase in visitors already being felt. Another factor is fuel prices which influences what Wyzlousil calls "rubber tire traffic", which is a large portion of transportation in our part of the province.

He explains the Canadian dollar can make its mark on tourists as well.

"The dollar has an impact on Canadians leaving the country making it more expensive in the United States and other countries to travel there so people have a tendency to stay at home and spend more of their dollars within the province or within the country," Wyzlousil says.

Wyzlousil says he expects to keep seeing a rise in tourism numbers this year.

"We expect to see some modest increases in 2015 again over 2014 and hopefully that will continue to trend, but a bulk of people traveling in Alberta are Albertans. There is some concern with the energy sector so we're hoping that doesn't have too much of a play as far as visitation goes."

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