Rwanda has taken the top title at the World Travel Awards Africa Gala Ceremony 2017.
On a night of high drama in host city, Kigali, the Land of a Thousand Hills was recognised as Africa’s Leading Destination.
Also among the winners was Durban.
The South African seaside city – which underwent a major makeover in the run up to the 2010 World Cup, with a sleek new stadium and a revamped waterfront – was hailed Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination.
Meanwhile, Durban International Convention Centre picked up the award for Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre.
The glittering event took place at the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre – one of the most recognised modern structures in Africa – alongside the Africa Hotel Investment Forum and AviaDev Africa, with hospitality leaders from across the region, in attendance.
World Travel Awards founder, Graham Cooke, said: “It has been an honour to visit Rwanda for the very first time.
“We have recognised the leading lights of African tourism tonight and I wish to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners.
“Rwanda has proved a wonderful host for our Africa Gala Ceremony, cementing the country’s reputation as Africa’s rising star.”
Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa was also celebrating after scooping the award for Africa’s Leading Hotel Suite and South Africa’s Leading Hotel Suite.
Elsewhere Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo Kinshasa was voted Democratic Republic of Congo’s Leading Hotel and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Leading Hotel Suite, while the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, Kigali, was presented with the trophies for Africa’s Leading Conference Hotel, Rwanda’s Leading Conference Hotel and Africa’s Leading New Hotel.
Satguru Travels was named Tanzania’s Leading Travel Agency and Nigeria’s Leading Travel Agency,
The ceremony – part of World Travel Awards Grand Tour 2017 – was compered by CNBC Africa presenter and producer, George Ndirangu, and passionate DJ and media personality, Makeda Mahadeo.
Entertainment was provided by Inganzo Ngari, Rwanda’s most acclaimed traditional dance group, and the Neptunez band.
Winners from the event will go forward to complete in the World Travel Awards Grand Final, this year taking place at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam on the evening of December 10th.
In the aviation sector, Kenya Airways was selected by voters as Africa’s Leading Airline and Africa’s Leading Airline – Business Class, while Cape Town International Airport walked away with the trophy for Africa’s Leading Airport.
The travel industry’s leading awards programme also unveiled the host of the 2018 World Travel Awards Africa Gala Ceremony as the Durban International Convention Centre.
Conveniently situated in the heart of South Africa’s third largest city, this world-class facility was opened by former president Nelson Mandela in 1997 and has successfully staged some of the world’s most prestigious and complex events.
A full list of winners from the World Travel Awards Africa Gala Ceremony can be seen here.