RYAZAN, August 16. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturizm) expects football fans to visit Russia once again following the FIFA World Cup, which would lead to a ten percent growth in the tourist inflow to the country, Rosturizm head Oleg Safonov said at the First International Forum of Ancient Cities being held in Russia’s Ryazan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier signed a law, which allows foreign Fan ID holders visa-free entry into Russia until the end of the year.
"We believe that foreign tourists will be very much interested, so the World Cup will have a huge positive effect as far as the tourist inflow is concerned," Safonov said. "We expect the tourist inflow to grow by ten percent, but these are conservative expectations. Some experts expect a greater increase in the number of tourists," he added. "We think that there will surely be a significant growth in the tourist inflow," the official said without elaborating how many foreign football fans had already returned to Russia using their Fan IDs.
The Rosturizm head also said that family members and friends of football fans could contribute to the increase in the tourist inflow to Russia. "Foreign football fans will definitely share information with their families and friends, encouraging them to travel here," Safonov said. The Russian president announced earlier that family members of 2018 FIFA World Cup Fan ID holders would have a chance to get free Russian visas until the end of the year.
Russia hosted its first ever FIFA World Cup between June 14 and July 15.
The FAN ID - an innovation Russia introduced upon becoming the 2018 FIFA World Cup host - is a document that all those who purchased tickets for matches had to acquire. FAN IDs gave their holders the right to use public transport for free, particularly to travel by train between host cities. As for foreign nationals, FAN IDs gave them additional benefits such as visa-free entry to the Russian Federation.
After the World Cup was over, Putin announced that Russia would continue to grant visa-free entry to Fan ID holders until the end of the year.
Forum of Ancient Cities
The Ryazan-hosted First International Forum of Ancient Cities involves 40 world cities founded more than 500 years ago. The event, sponsored by Russia’s National Commission for UNESCO, will conclude on August 18. Rosturizm head Oleg Safonov and Russian Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative to the Central Federal District Igor Shchegolev are participating in the forum.