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What if Messi visits Rwanda? | The new time

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What if Messi visits Rwanda? | The new time

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The Visit Rwanda campaign has been running for some time. Rwanda is not the first country to promote its tourism and investment potential, but it is the first “small” country on an international stage that was previously reserved for rich countries.

What even shocked many, including myself, was the way Rwanda chose to do so.

I’m talking about the perfect choice of visibility platform and partners to portray Rwanda’s image. Football has millions of fans around the world and the top Premier League clubs like Arsenal FC show the courage and determination of Rwanda’s leadership.

But that’s not all, many other international sporting events like the Tour du Rwanda, the first Basketball Africa League (BAL) etc. have been held in Kigali with the aim of promoting not only the sport but also local tourism and domestic investment .

While some Arsenal fans, or football fans as they like to be called, were still celebrating the Arsenal-Visit Rwanda partnership, doubters, including some Western politicians, began to wonder how a poor country could sponsor a rich club.

To their surprise, Rwanda’s strategists weren’t finished yet, this time another mega-deal was signed with French league giant Paris Saint-Germain to include the Visit Rwanda logo on their jerseys.

Yes, in case you’re from Mars, PSG is the club that currently employs global icons Lionel Messi, Neymar Junior and Kylian Mbappe. All of this cannot be a gamble, but a conscious attempt to achieve a specific goal which, in my opinion, is visibility with a multiplier effect on tourism and investment opportunities.

It is this resulting effect of visibility that kept pestering my mind with a persistent question.

What if Messi visits Rwanda? Or better yet, what if his teammates and other celebrities came with him? Are you ready for her Would Rwanda’s GDP or tourism revenues soar immediately? How about the pocket money of a single Keza or Kanyarwanda? Will they see their pockets overflowing with dollars just because Messi visited Rwanda? Perhaps the only answer to all of these questions is an unfortunate NO.

The truth of the matter is that some other celebrities like Maria Sharapova, David Luiz, Neyo, etc. have come and gone with no necessarily significant change in national or individual income.

Likewise, if Messi were to come to Rwanda, he would likely sleep in a 5-star hotel with his entire entourage and perhaps visit a national park before flying the next day.

Stars don’t spend long do they? For the record, no celebrity left a briefcase with dollars at my door. Then what can Keza and Kanyarwanda do to get the most out of the Visit Rwanda campaign? Maybe I asked more than I can answer, but I’ll try;

A. Work on yourself;

If your into arts and crafts, entertainment, or fashion make sure you have the best products and services at a fair price. Fair price, because celebrities don’t want to be cheated either. You never know which tourist will buy all of your inventory or even enable a partnership for future business.

B. Do the right thing and be your own boss;

This is the simplest expectation and I will explain it using an example. David Luiz was here in 2019 and he has probably already told Neymar about Rwanda. The mountain gorillas he saw, the local dish he liked best, to name a few. Suppose a certain Keza in a restaurant never gave him change after dinner, or a Kanyarwanda delayed his taxi to the airport or grabbed his smartphone. It would be very likely that Luiz would discourage Neymar and Neymar would then discourage Messi from visiting Rwanda. If you acted like this and warmed up for the day Messi was going to visit Rwanda, all you know is that you successfully managed to keep him at bay.

C. General benefits are long term;

While some sectors and individuals can benefit quickly and directly from the Visit Rwanda action, others may have to wait a little longer. Only when RwandAir and local hotels are fully booked and entertainment and tourism opportunities have been fully exhausted will we see a surplus in employment opportunities or taxes, for example.

Finally, if you are unable to invest and siphon off tourists, arrange a legal or financial transaction for large investors, do not curse the day you were born. Just by not littering the environment, engaging in petty crime, etc., will Messi et al. get dressed and eventually you’ll either get your cut at a car wash with tourist vehicles or by delivering elephant grass from the swamp to a craft shop or two.

The author is an internal counsel at the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.

The views expressed in this article are from the author.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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