Arsenal unveils visit RWANDA as sleeve sponsor – Ugandans accuse local tourism body for “sleeping on the job”

The Rwanda Development Board, through their subsidiary, the Rwanda Convention Bureau, has become  Arsenal’s first official sleeve partner as part of the country’s drive to become a leading global tourist destination, using ‘Visit Rwanda’ messaging.

The three-year deal will also see ‘Visit Rwanda’ become Arsenal’s  official Tourism Partner. The ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo will feature on all  Arsenal’s sleeves  next season.

Arsenal’s  chief commercial officer, Vinai Venkatesham, said: “This is an exciting partnership which will see us support Rwanda’s ambition to build their tourism industry. The country has been transformed in recent years and Arsenal’s huge following will bring Rwanda into people’s minds in a new and dynamic way.

The Arsenal shirt is seen 35 million times a day globally 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 leading tourist destination.” He added

Rwanda is ranked as the second 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 Development Board chief executive officer, Clare Akamanzi, said: “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.

However this didn’t go well with some Ugandans who expressed their dissatisfaction on social media.

One user wrote ‘ Rwanda Rwanda Rwanda!!!!! Our tourism guys are sleeping? Amos Wekesa come see! John SsempebwaStephen Asiimwe Where are you guys? –  Tagging prominent tourism personalities in the country.

Amos Wekesa the CEO of great lakes safaris was quick to respond to the thread with a short a message ‘ We simply lack understanding of how things work’

Other users advised the Uganda Tourism Board to borrow a leaf from their Rwandan Counterparts.

‘Man United has no sleeve sponsor its not too late UTB’

However some are seeing a beautiful side to this saying the many tourists visiting Rwanda will most certainly cap their expedition in Uganda and visit the source of the Nile.

Uganda recently signed contracts with three top PR firms worth US$1.5 million. The firms are promoting Uganda as a tourist destination in the United Kingdom and Ireland, North America, and German-speaking Europe.

The campaign, led by the Uganda Tourism Board, is being carried out with financial backing from the World Bank-supported Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project, which aims to improve the visibility of Uganda’s unique tourism products to attract up to 4 million tourists a year.

Addressing journalists on what the Ministry of tourism has done in implementing the NRM manifesto at the Media Centre last week the State Minister for Tourism Geoffrey  Kiwanda argued that  the PR firms should be credited for the 17 percent increase of tourists from German where one of the companies publicising the country is based. He added that more firms will be hired to market Uganda in Asia.

Uganda received 1.37 million tourists last year. The country targets to increase the number of tourists to 5 million by 2022 per year.

According to World Bank, Tourism is now the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda, bringing in about US$1.4 billion annually, which is 26 percent of its total foreign exchange earnings and 9.9 percent of its GDP.