Today Rwanda will welcome Arsenal first team player and one of football’s biggest names, David Luiz, for a two-day visit to the country. The trip is part of Visit Rwanda’s ground-breaking partnership with Arsenal Football Club.
Helping to build awareness of Rwanda as a welcoming and culturally rich tourist hotspot, David Luiz will be the first Arsenal first team player to visit Rwanda since the partnership’s launch last season. He follows in the footsteps of Arsenal legends Alex Scott, Tony Adams and Lauren who have previously participated in the Kwita Izina Gorilla naming ceremony – a prestigious celebration of Rwandan conservation and culture.
David Luiz will experience Rwanda’s first-class hospitality with his fiancé and mother who will join him on the visit. They will travel to Volcanoes National Park to see endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat as well as meet with young Rwandan players and fans in Kigali to exchange experiences and tips. This will provide an opportunity to build on the work already carried out by Arsenal, the Rwandan Football Federation and the national Ministry of Sports and Culture to develop and nurture local talent and football at the grassroots level.
David Luiz and his family will also visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial to pay respects to the victims and to learn more about the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Born in Diadema, São Paulo, Arsenal’s number 23 started his career with Brazilian side Vitória before moving to Europe to sign for Portuguese giants Benfica. He went on to play for Chelsea and Paris St Germain before joining Arsenal in the summer of 2019. In total he has played 475 club games scoring 33 goals, the most recent being the winner in Sunday’s 1-0 win against Bournemouth in the Premier League. He also has 57 caps for the Brazil National Team.
With a combined following of more than 52 million on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, David Luiz is the third most followed player in the Premier League.
Arsenal’s David Luiz, said:
“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.”
Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board, 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.”
The 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. In just twelve months, the partnership has made Rwanda a must-see holiday destination for football fans and tourists around the world.
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% of 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 8% increase from 2017.