By Elie Mutangana, Kigali
Rwanda, through its Rwanda Development Board (RDB), has inked a tourism promotion deal with German Football Club, Bayern Munich to promote the ‘Visit Rwanda’ campaign to millions of football fans.
The Football Club announced the five-year development and tourism partnership during its first home game of the season against Augsburg, which it won.
FC Bayern Munich marks the third European football club to partner with Rwanda in the campaign, after Premier League club Arsenal FC and the French League A champion, Paris Saint German.
According to the RDB, the club will display Visit Rwanda branding on matchday LED boards at the club’s 75,000-seater Allianz Arena and other different activities will be organised to promote tourism and investments opportunities in Rwanda.
“We are pleased to welcome yet another strategic partner in Visit Rwanda campaign. It’s been five outstanding years since Rwanda announced the campaign and adding FC Bayern Munich as another additional partner allows us to reach out to its millions of fans across the globe and tell them to Visit Rwanda.
“Germany is among Rwanda’s top five tourism source of markets and we aim to use this partnership to attract more tourists to Rwanda, showcase investment and business opportunities as well as encouraging visitors to stay in Rwanda,” said Claire Akamanzi, CEO of RDB in a statement.
Jean-Christian Dreesen, FC Bayern Chief Executive Officer noted that Africa is a continent of numerous opportunities and the club is pleased with internationalisation of the existing opportunity offerings.
“I am very pleased with the collaboration agreed upon until the summer of 2028. The club can become active on the African continent and gather all important experiences. The new platinum partnership is aligned with long-term goals. We will promote ‘Visit Rwanda’ and help Rwanda grow in sports with projects for nurturing football talents,” he said.
Inauguration Of Football Academy And Sharing Couching Expertise
Following the partnership, FC Bayern plans to inaugurate ‘FC Bayern Football Academy’ in Rwanda to nurture and foster young Rwandan talents in football. The club will send two experienced coaches to Rwanda to help with the progress by training aspiring Rwandan coaches.
According to Rwanda’s Ministry of Sports, the academy will begin with 20 selected talented youngsters of both genders nationwide, to be nurtured as future professional footballers, but the number will be increased in next phases.
“We’re thrilled to partner with FC Bayern to support the development of youth football for boys and girls and in Rwanda. The potential is there for Rwandans to excel in Football and this partnership provides a great platform for Rwanda to strive for excellence in sports,” said Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, Rwanda’s Minister of Sports.
The academy follows the existing ‘Paris Saint-German Academy’ inaugurated in 2021 in Rwanda by the French Club, PSG. The academy is actually an incubator of around 100 young footballers.
Additionally, the Minister revealed that Rwanda will also have expert coaches from FC Bayern share knowledge of the game with local coaches and players.
Around 20 aspiring Rwandan coaches in the first phase will receive both physical and virtual coaching trainings and will as result get a privilege to go to Germany for further experiences.
“I am looking forward to this new, very exciting collaboration. We will support the Rwanda Ministry of sports in developing youth sports programs,” said Andreas Jung, FC Bayern, Executive Board Member Marketing.
He added that Rwanda will be a special partner of ‘FC Bayern Youth Cup’ of which the upcoming academy from Rwanda will be attending each year.
Rwanda has been motivated by the outcomes from existing partnerships.
As Rwanda turns five years since it started the ‘Visit Rwanda’ Campaign in 2018, the yields from the partnerships with Arsenal FC and PSG have been doubling each year, and has surpassed expectations, according to Rwanda Development Board.
Despite the global tourism shock rooted by the COVID 19 Pandemic, Rwanda withstood the resilience and recovered the tourism sector in the post- pandemic through branding policies which sought numerous visitors to the country.
In 2022, Rwanda received around one million tourists visiting different available tourism offerings. This generated approximately $445 million revenues in return.
These revenues marked a 90 percent recovery to pre-pandemic levels, as compared to global average of 65 percent recovery, according to the World Tourism Organisation.
Furthermore, according to the survey conducted in 2019 by RDB when ‘Visit Rwanda’ Campaign initially started, over 79 percent of participants in the survey who were asked about Rwanda couldn’t recognise the country. However, in the recent survey, 51 percent of participants who were asked about Rwanda recognised it and its tourism impressions.