MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Most foreign tourists who plan to travel to Russia during the FIFA World Cup come from the United States, the ForwardKeys data company said in a statement.
"ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analyzing 17 million booking transactions a day, has published a ranking of the top 50 countries most gripped by World Cup Fever. The ranking is based on the uplift in visitor arrivals to Russia from 4th June to 15th July, when World Cup ticket holders do not need a visa to enter the country," the statement reads. "The nation at the top of the list, with the greatest number of additional visitors, is the USA. It is followed, in order, by Brazil, Spain, Argentina, South Korea, Mexico, China, the UK, Germany and Egypt," ForwardKeys said, adding that "this result may seem surprising because the USA has not qualified for the finals but interest in the sport has grown strongly since the 1994 World Cup when it was the host nation."
"However, ForwardKeys also looked at an alternative method of ranking countries, instead benchmarking them against the number of visitors that came to Russia during the equivalent period last year," the company said. "On that method of analysis, Paraguay tops the list with over 52 times as many Paraguayans coming to Russia for the World Cup as visited in 2017. It is followed, in order by Peru, which last qualified for the finals in 1982, Panama, Nigeria, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Colombia and Morocco," the statement adds.
The FIFA World Cup, the first-ever hosted by Russia, will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018, in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don.
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay will make up Group A, while Group B will include Portugal, Spain, Iran and Morocco. Group C is going to consist of France, Australia, Peru and Denmark, while Group D will be Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. Group E will be composed of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. Group F has Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, while Group G will encompass Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England. Finally, Group H has Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan.