Rwanda has so far earned exposure through the English Football team Arsenal worth Rwf36 billion, Rwanda Development Board has said.
Ahead of the 15th occasion of baby gorilla naming ceremony, just after the first year since the three-year deal was signed with Arsenal, the government officials are optimistic of the role of the deal in promoting the country’s tourism sector.
Official figures compiled by Nielsen, Blinkfire Analytics and research agency Hall and Partners, before the signing of the partnership, 71 per cent of Arsenal supporters globally did not think of Rwanda as a tourist destination, and currently half of them have changed mind.
“In just one year, we have a 50 per cent increase in value compare with what we spend on this deal in three years.
We can definitely say it has paid off,” said Belize Kaliza, chief of tourism officer.
Based on TV viewership and social media exposure of Visit Rwanda as a brand, the figures put the partnership value, in year one, up to Rwf36 billion.
According to RDB, the deal has been paying off in terms of people visiting Rwanda coming from the United Kingdom, where in 2018, there was a five per cent increase in visitors from the UK market only. Besides that, across all the Arsenal online platforms ,which followed by over 60 million people globally, RDB is counting for around 4.3 million people who have seen the Visit Rwanda brand as potential tourists.
According to Naivasha Oakes, Partner Service Manager at Arsenal, they measured the quantitative value of the investment as well as other factors to show the change of perceptions towards Rwanda through the broadcast value and social media value.
“That figure is calculated; It's done by two different areas: The broadcast Value and the social media value, which are broadcast globally every time Arsenal plays,... The analytics firm is able to determine how much “Visit Rwanda” would have paid if it was to pay for the huge exposure value in mainstream media,” said Mr Naivasha.
The official figures from RDB indicate that Rwanda received over 1.7 million visitors in 2018, which has increased by eight per cent compared with 2017 visitors.
Akagera National Park was the most visited park with over 51, 000 visitors in 2018, an increase of 17 per cent compared with 2017 figures while Nyungwe received 15,665 visitors in 2018, in an increase of nine per cent compared with the previous year.
The government agency has indicated despite the compiled figures of tourism revenues are jointly underway with National Bank and National Institute of Statistics, the overall park revenues reached over Rwf 19.2 billion in 2018 while over 15, 000 gorilla permits worth Rwf17.6 billion were sold, a 25 per cent increase compared to 2017.