FIFA Fan Fest venue at Sparrow Hills in Moscow attracts thousands of local and foreign football fans every day
Moscow : More than 1.5 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, said the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Oleg Safonov.
Russia will host the most prestigious soccer tournament FIFA World Cup from June 14 to July 15. Eleven Russian cities, namely Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg and Sochi, will host the championship's matches.
The successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup brought a tourism boon, which will give Russia a grand new look on the international stage.
It is from this resounding triumph that Russia aspires to restore a reputation for being a tourist destination of choice to visitors across the globe.
In turn, Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) pointed out that the number of people who want to attend the World Cup is already much more than was expected. She said the highest number of guests will come from Latin America, Europe, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US.
The official believes that the 2018 FIFA World Cup will have a long-term positive effect on Russia's tourism industry and may even positively influence the Russian economy.
President Vladimir Putin is hoping to use the World Cup, to showcase Russia as a global superpower and reinvigorate areas of the country where the economy has stagnated with an influx of tourists and spending.
The host has spent billions on building new stadiums and upgrading aging infrastructure. In addition to new stadiums in cities like Samara, Saransk and Nizhny Novgorod, Russia is using the World Cup as a catalyst for broader social and economic changes ranging from job creation to the installation of more surveillance cameras.
With the construction phase of preparations behind it, Russia is now on track for an upsurge in consumer growth and tourism in the second and third quarter of the year.
This year's World Cup will bring a small boost to the Russian economy but could also cause a short-term spike in inflation, the Russian central bank said.
The central bank said spending on preparations for the tournament had already helped support the economy, which returned to growth last year after a two-year downturn.
But economists poured cold water on these aspirations, saying the month-long event would do little for the economy in the short term, although related improvements to infrastructure and investment in tourism could increase its growth potential.
But the central bank, which has fought to bring inflation down from double-digit levels to post-Soviet lows, also warned that the tournament could lead to an increase in consumer prices.
Analysts at Russia's Gaidar Institute said in January the World Cup, could add up to 0.2 per cent to annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second and third quarters.
Analysts at Moody's said the food, hotel, telecoms and transport industries would see a temporary boost in revenue, but that the overall credit impact for the Russian corporate sector would be limited.
Russian authorities have already named and shamed hotels caught jacking up room prices ahead of the World Cup, with some increasing nightly rates by as much as 5,000 per cent.