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Lisa Sheard, Kruger Lowveld Tourism Executive Director and Marketing Consultant, KLT’s priorities this year include engaging with government and other stakeholders responsible for the region’s road infrastructure, exerting pressure to find an urgent long-term solution to saving Pilgrim’s Rest, putting together a tourism think tank, and the urgent upgrading, revitalisation and innovation of the region’s public attractions.
“We believe these are all salient issues that need to be prioritised this year to ensure that we are able to grow tourism to the Kruger Lowveld region,” says Sheard.
Oupa Pilane, the President of Kruger Lowveld Tourism, said There’s a huge backlog and government budget urgently needs to be reallocated to improve the main access routes into the region, for example the R540 from Belfast to Dullstroom to Lydenburg/Mashishing and the R36 from Lydenburg/Mashishing to the N4 at Schoemanskloof.
“When it comes to the state of the region’s road infrastructure, good roads are essential if we are to see a growth in tourism numbers to the region, and tourism employment within the region.
“Our internal network of roads along and around the Panorama Route also need to be urgently improved,” he says.
Sadly, no progress has been made in finding a solution to the dire Pilgrim’s Rest situation, despite the recent engagement of another set of consultants. The town’s future remains uncertain.
“We need to find an inclusive long-term solution that will not only benefit tourism but will also ensure that the previously disadvantaged are brought in as active participants and owners.
“If no local solution is forthcoming, Kruger Lowveld Tourism will again have to elevate the matter to national level,” says Pilane.
Kruger Lowveld Tourism will meet with mayors and municipal managers from all local municipalities across and surrounding the region in 2018, in a bid to escalate tourism up the IDP agenda. It will also request meetings with the MEC for Tourism and the MEC for Roads to further engage on all of these matters.