ARSENAL defender David Luiz is expected in the country on Thursday for a two-day visit. The visit is part of the ‘Visit Rwanda’ partnership between the Government of Rwanda and the English club.
The Brazil international will be the second football star in Kigali this week after Chelsea and Côte d'Ivoire legend Didier Drogba who is one of the key speakers at the ongoing 3rd Youth Connekt Africa Summit.
“I have heard wonderful things about the breath-taking beauty of Rwanda and its people, and I can’t wait to experience the country and all it has to offer. Football has the amazing power to bring communities together and drive social change, and the Arsenal shirt has a unique ability to reach fans all over the world.
I am very proud to represent Arsenal to help tell a global audience of Rwanda’s modernisation into a luxury tourism destination, its amazing culture and its enthusiasm for football development,” the Arsenal star said in a joint statement.
David Luiz and his family will also visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial to pay respects to the victims and to learn more about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, RDB said in a statement.
Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of RDB, said: “We are happy to welcome David to revel in the vibrancy and beauty of our country. Rwanda is a country pulsing with energy, creativity and innovation.
We have so much to discover, whether it is trekking the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, lounging along the Lake Kivu beaches or going on safari in Akagera National Park. We welcome the entire Arsenal global family to visit Rwanda and discover why we call our country remarkable.”
Through Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda inked a three-year partnership with Arsenal in May last year, in an effort to promote the country’s tourism on the global scene.
According to the deal, players from the club’s first teams (men and women) will visit Rwanda, while their coaches host training camps to support football development for boys and girls in the country.
Luis' visit comes after a highly successful first year of Visit Rwanda’s partnership with Arsenal as the club’s inaugural Sleeve Sponsor and Official Tourism Partner.
An independent survey conducted by Hall and Partners of 20,000 Arsenal fans across 30 markets found that as a result of the partnership, 51 per cent of the respondents are more likely to consider Rwanda as a tourist destination, demonstrating a shift in perception and understanding of the country.
In 2018, 1.7 million people visited Rwanda – an increase of 8 per cent compared to the year before.