A few months after RwandAir launched its maiden flight to the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, a Visa Service and Tour Centre was on Friday opened in Kigali to boost the bilateral ties between the two countries.
Ron Adam, the Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda said during the event that the opening of an Israeli embassy in Rwanda and launch of flights directly from Kigali to Tel Aviv have strengthened the bilateral ties between the two countries.
“I want to note that there has been cooperation between the two countries of late in activities such as tourism, trade and technology and now with the availability of Israeli visas for Rwandans closer, it can only get better,” he said.
Amb. Adam noted that Israel opened its embassy in Kigali on April 1 and began issuing visas on June 26 and as of today, a total of 250 visas have been issued to Rwandans who intend to visit the country for different reasons.
He further promised to make Rwanda more appealing to the Israelis after being impressed by his 5-month experience in Rwanda.
At the same function, Betty Mahugu, the Founder of Gotell World Class Exposures, an agency that facilitates documents for one to get a visa to Israel noted the importance of having a centre where Rwandans can easily access visas from Kigali.
“Israel is a top tourist destination for tourism and agriculture and the fact that the visa acquisition has been made through opening up of this centre, I honestly think this is going to be a big step in strengthening the relationship between the two countries,’’ she said.
Previously, many Rwandans that wanted to travel to Israel had to go Ethiopia but that is all in the past as one can get a visa right here in Kigali.
She also noted that the service of acquiring a visa for Rwandans will be so efficient in a sense that it will take only 7 days before one gets a visa but if the process is really smooth, one can get a visa before 7 days.
Betty Mahugu also hinted on the possibility of other countries in the accessing visas from Kigali instead of going to Ethiopia.
“We are in talks with the Israeli embassy n Rwanda to see if countries such as Burundi and regions of Bukavu and Goma in Congo can be allowed to get visas from Kigali and if works out, it will greatly help on the linking of the Israeli community to the rest of East Africa through Rwanda”.
A number of partners came together to make the process easier and these include MTN Rwanda as well as Equity Bank where one will be able to use either Mobile Money payment to pay visa fees or pay in instalments through the bank.