The City of Kigali this week made it to the Forbes’ list of the 20 best places to visit in 2020.
The exclusive list, drawn up based on sales and client aspirations, was made by travel agents of the Ovation Travel Group, a 35-year-old $1.4 billion travel company.
Judy Stein, president of the Stein Collective, an affiliate of Ovation Travel Group, noted that people should visit Kigali to witnesses its dramatic success since the end of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
“Kigali is clean, safe and filled with enlightening cultural experiences from world-class modern art galleries to fashion, local crafts and even a coffee co-op run by women making the world’s best coffee,” she told Forbes.
“Rwanda in general and Kigali as the capital gateway city have really come into their own since the genocide a generation ago,” Stein said.
She also urged travellers to visit the recently opened Singita Kwitonda lodge in Musanze District, and One&Only’s Nyungwe House in Nyamasheke District, for wildlife exploration, especially gorilla trekking.
Speaking to The New Times, the Mayor of the City of Kigali, Pudence Rubingisa, said these were exciting times for the city residents are visitors.
The capital, he said, is “indeed a gateway to Rwanda’s incredible touristic attractions”.
We are increasingly becoming an ideal destination for travellers from around the world, he added, citing ongoing efforts to make travellers’ experience even more exciting.
Frank Benoit Kanyamutara, the owner of Golden Rwanda Safaris, reckons that the growing recognition of Kigali and Rwanda, in general, as a top destination presented an opportunity to travel agencies.
“Although the Government invests in tourism, we are the ones who host these visitors. As such, when the country is ranked highly, it means more possibilities for the people of Rwanda in general and for us in this sector in particular,” he said.
Frederick Ndikubwimana, the Managing Director of Rwanda Discovery and Travel Agency, said: “These rankings are good for the domestic tourism sector because they influence people’s perceptions and inform their decision-making when it comes to such things as holidaying.”
We expect more tourists to consider Rwanda in their travel plans, he added.
According to RDB, 1.7 million people visited Rwanda in 2018, representing an 8 per cent growth from the previous year.
Rwanda is home to hundreds of mountain gorillas as well as several national parks teeming with wildlife of all kinds.
The country also boasts the Big Five following the successful translocation of certain species to the Akagera National Park.
Most of these parks are less than two hours drive from the capital.
Other destinations on the Forbes’ list besides Rwandan capital city Kigali include Cape Town, Patagonia, Marrakech, Tel Aviv, Atacama Desert and Tokyo.