Pilgrim’s community stand together to boost tourism

Frieda Paton

Lately, Pilgrim’s Rest is getting many compliments from visitors. The positive comments on social media and elsewhere are a very welcome change after the unstable times during the past decade.

“We loved our weekend in Pilgrim’s,” wrote Alison Polley-Green on Facebook. “And the ghost tour on Saturday was the cherry on top.”

“The last time we were in Pilgrim’s Rest, about 6 years ago, we were so disappointed at how run down it was. We spent a night there last night. “What a difference,” wrote Ilonka de Magalhaes. “The whole town has been spruced up and the Royal Hotel was really great value for money. It is worth a visit.”

Issues, related to the allocation of leases to business owners by the provincial government caused a downward spiral lasting more than a decade. Leases were eventually awarded in 2018.

Just as things started picking up the COVID lockdown came along. Pilgrim’s businesses, which rely almost exclusively on the tourism trade, were closed for months. However, as soon as the restrictions on local travel were lifted, the newly formed local business chamber sprang into action. As a result, all over town, community members are doing their bit.

Main Street is the hub of tourism and each business was allocated a section to tidy up and tend to the gardens. The business chamber even purchased brush cutters which businesses owners can borrow for this purpose.

Business owners and staff, volunteers from the community and employees from the Department of Public Works have joined in numerous cleaning up campaigns over the past few months. This involved not only picking up litter, but also clearing overgrown vegetation at entrances, parks, and the old cemetery.

The action has not been limited to the village. Work has also been done on many kilometres of the roads leading towards town – clearing litter, cutting verges, and fixing potholes and a large water leak.

Nearly all the business premises are now occupied with two new businesses that have opened recently – Lopin’s General Dealer in Downtown and Mrs Mac’s Shop in Uptown.

Further to the recent news reports that the iconic Royal Hotel is closing its doors due to budgetary constraints it has been established that there has not been any final decision. The Royal Hotel is still open! So consider an overnight trip to Pilgrim’s and discover everything this living museum has to offer. At the same time, you will be contributing to conserving our heritage.


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