MOSCOW, December 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Soccer World Cup 2018 organizing committee expects up to million foreign tourists to visit the contest in Russia, the director-general of the organizing committee Russia-2018, Aleksey Sorokin, told Itar-Tass.
“We expect up to one million visitors, given that 3.2 million tickets will be available for sale,” Sorokin said.
He added only Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Yekaterinburg had hotel stock complying with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) requirements.
“I do not see any insoluble difficulties ahead of the World Cup. But the number of hotel rooms is a kind of challenge for us,” Sorokin admitted. “FIFA requirements are quite strict in this respect. Frankly speaking, not all Russian cities comply with them.” However, he added, this did not mean hotel businesses took the wrong course there, as the number of hotels was adequate to the current influx of tourists. Developing the hotel sector should be given special attention, and the championship “may become a good impetus,” Sorokin believes.
If needed, the state would regulate hotels’ pricing policies for the period of the 2018 World Cup. Such a possibility is stipulated in the contest’s legislation, as there was a temptation to hike prices during a world championship, Sorokin said. He added the same rule might also be applied during the 2014 winter Olympics Games in Sochi. “Prices are to be kept within normal market ranges in order to prevent a sudden speculative wave,” Sorokin said.
He cited the UEFA Euro 2012 in Ukraine as an example, when according to some reports 30-dollar rooms were booked for $1,000, which scared the fans away. The reality was not as bad, though. Ticket touting must be prevented by all means, especially against a background of scandalous exaggerations of the real situation in Russia by Western media, Sorokin said.