Arsenal, one of the top-division English Premier League football clubs will have all their teams wear labelled on the sleeves ‘Visit Rwanda’. According to Vinal Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, Rwanda has signed a sponsorship deal with Arsenal football Club that will promote Rwanda as a tourism destination.
“This is an exciting partnership which will see us support Rwanda’s ambition to build their tourism industry,” Venkatesham. He added on that “The country [Rwanda] has been transformed in recent years.”
The three-year partnership will see the new ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo featured on the left sleeve of all first team, under-23 and Arsenal Women’s matches from the new season this August. As part of the deal, Arsenal players from the men’s and women’s teams will visit Rwanda and club coaches will host coaching camps to support the development of the game for boys and girls in the country, that has tried to promote tourism and sports.
The deal is expected to highlight Rwanda’s tourism offerings such as the National Parks, which are attracting record number of tourists. Rwanda has been a favorite to travelers looking to visiting the mountain gorillas in Africa. It has also tried to develop convention tourism and it is expected to sit the next Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2020).
Over the last 20 years, Rwanda has also geared up its efforts in conservation and growing numbers of wildlife have been registered. Some wildlife such as black rhinos and lions have reintroduced into the Akagera National Park, a park that suffered a lot during the 1994 civil war.
Last year Rwanda received 1.3 million visitors. In 2017, tourism generated 90,000 jobs and remains Rwanda’s largest foreign exchange earner. The Visit Rwanda campaign is not only about tourism. It showcases Rwanda as an investment destination as well. Rwanda is ranked as the third easiest place to do business in Africa by the World Bank and has been awarded for its leadership in tourism and competitiveness by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum respectively.
Rwanda is renowned for the incredible and unique mountain gorilla tracking experience, variety of water sports, cycling, hiking, bird watching among other touristic attractions.
Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board said the country was looking forward to welcoming more tourists and investors. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Arsenal and showcasing the vibrancy and beauty of our country. Rwanda is a country pulsing with energy, creativity and innovation,” she said.
Akamanzi explained why Rwanda is an ideal investment destination. “We are the second fastest growing economy in Africa. Investors in Rwanda are able to register their businesses in only six hours and prepare to enjoy the opportunities accrued from the free trade agreements that we’ve signed with over 50 countries.
Visit Rwanda will gain global exposure through branding on Arsenal’s match day LED boards, interview backdrops and the club’s stadium tour which attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year. They will also have the opportunity to engage Arsenal fans around the world through the club’s social media channels.
Arsenal’s Venkatesham pointed out the magnitude of the exposure Rwanda gets from the deal. “The Arsenal shirt is seen 35 million times a day around the world and we are one of the most viewed teams around the world. We look forward to working with the Visit Rwanda team to further establish the country as a tourist destination,” Venkatesham said.
The partnership is also being supported by National Geographic who will promote Rwanda as an important tourist destination.