One million foreign visitors expected in 2018 World Cup

Moscow, Dec 3: Up to one million foreign tourists are expected to visit the World Cup 2018 in Russia, the competitions’ steering committee said Monday.

“We expect up to one million visitors and 3.2 million tickets will be available,” head of the committee Alexei Sorokin was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying, Xinhua reported.

The 2018 World Cup will be held in 11 Russian cities with 32 teams participating.

Sorokin admitted that given such a number of visitors, the hosting cities needed to cope with shortage of tourists’ accommodations. He cited International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) requirements in this respect, calling them “quite strict”.

Special attention must be given to developing of the hotel sector, and the championship “may become a good impetus”, Sorokin said, adding that only Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Yekaterinburg have currently the sufficient hotels capacities complying with the FIFA requirements.

According to the Russian sports official, the government might regulate hotel accommodation prices like it has been doing on the run-up of the Sochi Winter Olympics due next February.

He also said that the country’s authorities would prevent ticket touting by all means.

Earlier this year, Russia’s preparation work for the World Cup won recognition from FIFA. The football governing body’s general secretary Jerome Valcke said that FIFA believed the preparation work were on track.

IANS