The economy of the Biosphere roughly divides the region into three districts, with a focus on ecotourism and agriculture around Hoedspruit, mining around Phalaborwa, and forestry and more traditional mass tourism-based activities in the Pilgrims Rest and Graskop area. Just outside the Biosphere is the extensive citrus, mango and avocado growing region of the Letaba district centred on Tzaneen. The region can be described as the economic engine room of Limpopo Province. At present it is producing an annual Gross Geographic Product in excess of 5 Billion Rand, some sixty percent of the province’s total fiscus. Fifty years ago the region contributed less than 10% of the province's GGP. The Kruger-to-Canyons Biosphere Reserve covers almost 60% of the land and natural resources driving the wealth generation of Limpopo Province.
Land Use in the Biosphere Region:
Tourism revenues derived from the region have increased exponentially since the end of the Apartheid era (1994), having already exceeded those of agriculture; they are expected to surpass mining income within the next twenty years. As a destination for visitors, the region is fed from one side by the Kruger National Park, and the other from the “Panoramic Route”. This links Pilgrims Rest and Graskop with the natural splendour of Blyde River Canyon’s Three Rondavels, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Visitors then cross the Dipadeng mountain pass and drop down from the Drakensberg escarpment into the Valley of the Olifants, and on to the savannah plains of the safari region of the Central Lowveld.
Estimated Contribution of Limpopo Province to GGP
This section discusses the significance of various industry sectors to the region, namely agriculture, tourism, mining, game farming and forestry.