On October 10, Rwanda will welcome Arsenal first team player, David Luiz, for a two-day visit to the country. The trip is part of Visit Rwanda’s partnership with the football club.

Helping to build awareness of Rwanda as a tourist hotspot, 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 Laureano Bisan Etame-Mayer (Lauren) who previously participated in the Kwita Izina Gorilla naming ceremony – a celebration of Rwandan conservation and culture.

Luiz will experience Rwanda’s 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, and meet with young Rwandan players and fans in Kigali to exchange experiences and tips.

David Luiz and his family will also visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial to pay respect to the victims and to learn more about the genocide against the Tutsi.

“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,” said Luiz.

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.

The visit comes after the success of Visit Rwanda’s partnership with Arsenal as the club’s inaugural Sleeve Sponsor and Official Tourism Partner. In just 12 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.

The three-year partnership, signed in May 2018 and worth a reported £30 million, had been criticised in Rwanda, with claims the funds could have been better spent by the government in the country itself rather than on one of the Premier league’s biggest and wealthiest teams.

RDB said it had already recouped the £30 million investment, while Visit Rwanda’s YouTube channel had seen a 100% increase in subscribers and the brand’s Twitter and Instagram following had had a boost of 72% and 577% respectively off the back of the deal.