Time to take the Pilgrim’s Rest debacle to the next level?

Credit: Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency

During a discussion on Mpumalanga’s tourism attractions at the recent SATSA Conference in White River, the topic of Pilgrim’s Rest came up – and the lost opportunity of a potential tourism gem due to lack of action by provincial government.

Lisa Sheard, Executive Director Kruger Lowveld Tourism, responded to a question from the floor on what is being done to restore Pilgrim’s Rest as a functional, iconic tourist attraction. She said the deterioration of the town has been “nothing short of shameful” with no response from government.

“We have been patient and put a plan on the table which has been stonewalled. We consulted with 28 stakeholder organisation to provide a new vision for Pilgrim’s Rest and how it can operate,” she said. “The difficulty is that half the businesses in Pilgrim’s Rest are shut and don’t operate. This isn’t because they want to be shut, it’s because the town has been left to degrade,” she added.

Sheard believes it may be time to take this to a national level. “We need to try and elevate this issue. Pilgrim’s Rest is low-hanging fruit, but we need political will to make it happen,” she concluded.