Why Kibeho should be mapped as a tourism destination

Editor, Re: “The long journey to Kibeho to celebrate Assumption Day” (The New Times, August 23). It was very interesting to read that over 30,000 pilgrims turned up for special prayers on the grounds of Kibeho on August 15, which is Assumption Day. But it was sad to read that it was a “nightmare” for the writer and his group to get a vehicle to get there.
A section of the congregation during the Assumption Day at Kibeho. (Solomon Asaba)
A section of the congregation during the Assumption Day at Kibeho. (Solomon Asaba)

Editor,

Re: “The long journey to Kibeho to celebrate Assumption Day” (The New Times, August 23).

It was very interesting to read that over 30,000 pilgrims turned up for special prayers on the grounds of Kibeho on August 15, which is Assumption Day. But it was sad to read that it was a “nightmare” for the writer and his group to get a vehicle to get there.

Religious tourism is an important segment for any country, so also for this beautiful land of a thousand hills and a million smiles!

But when will Kibeho be added as a tourism product of “Remarkable Rwanda”?

There is absolutely no mention of Kibeho on the Rwanda Tourism website and understandably so, since this serene and holy place of pilgrimage just does not have the requisite infrastructure to warrant its inclusion as a tourism product of this great country.

I have myself visited Kibeho and would fully agree with the writer that the road to Kibeho is dusty. Not only that, the lack of a proper road causes delays and much inconvenience to reach this shrine where clear warnings were given by Our Lady of Kibeho, in the form of apparitions, about the tragic Genocide against the Tutsi.

Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal have both been developed as religious tourism products and are contributing immensely to international visitor arrivals into their respective countries.

Why not Kibeho?

It is my firm belief that with the right infrastructural development, Kibeho will not only find its rightful place on the Rwanda Tourism website, but will also contribute substantially to enhancing international visitor arrivals and thereby increasing foreign exchange earnings for the country.

Clarence Fernandes, Mumbai, India

 

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