Rwanda gets 5% UK tourism boost with Arsenal sleeve deal

Rwanda’s decision to sponsor the Premier League team Arsenal has paid instant dividends. The African nation has reportedly registered a 5% growth…

Premier League,Premier League 2019,Arsenal Football Club,UK tourism,Rwanda UK tourism

Rwanda’s decision to sponsor the Premier League team Arsenal has paid instant dividends. The African nation has reportedly registered a 5% growth in tourist influx from the United Kingdom in the first year of its deal with the Gunners to promote Visit Rawanda.

Rwanda by way of an increase in its tourism revenue from the UK has reportedly recovered £ 30 million ($ 37 million) in just one year from the three-year sponsorship commitment of £ 36 million ($ 44 million).

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has revealed the benefits of their sleeve sponsorship of English football club Arsenal to promote the Visit Rwanda brand, states a Sportspromedia report.

The three-year sponsorship deal, inked in May last year, was termed by many as “poor sponsoring the rich” and criticised that the money could have better been used on development projects in the country.

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The RDB has now claimed that £30 million ($37 mn) from investment are already regained, based off analytics provided by sports research and consulting firm Nielsen, social media and sponsorship measurement provider Blinkfire Analytics, and research agency Hall and Partners.

Arsenal as part of the deal has also shared a three-minute Visit Rwanda video on their website. The video shows Arsenal legends Lauren and Alex Scott got up close and personal with the Rwandan mountain gorillas on a truly unique trip during KwitaIzina.

“Before the signing of the partnership, 71 per cent of the millions of Arsenal fans globally did not think of Rwanda as a tourist destination. At the end of the first year of the partnership half of Arsenal fans would consider Rwanda as a destination to visit,” says Belise Kariza, the RDB chief tourism officer.

“In terms of overall value, the partnership so far, in year one, is worth £36 million or over Rwf36 billion. This number is based on TV viewership and social media. We can definitely say it has paid off.”

Belise further adds that the agreement factored into the 1.7 million tourists that visited Rwanda in 2018 thanks to the brand exposure Arsenal gave to Visit Rwanda. She also said that the content created to promote the country as a holiday destination, aided by a tie-up with National Geographic, had seen at least 4.3 million interactions over social media and other activations.

Visit Rwanda’s YouTube channel has also registered a 100% increase in subscribers, while the brand’s Twitter and Instagram followings enjoyed a boost of 72% and 577% respectively following the deal.

“I think really on the visibility it is paying off. It is also paying off in terms of people visiting from the UK. In 2018 we had a five per cent increase in visitors from the UK market only,” added Belise.3

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