ST. PETERSBURG, June 15. /TASS/. Fans from Australia and New Zealand, who purchased tickets for the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup, arrived in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg on Thursday.
According to the Moby SPL ferry company, the fans covered almost 15,000 kilometers, flying to Europe and then travelling by ferry from Finland’s Helsinki to St. Petersburg.
"The fans arrive in Russia under the rule allowing a 72-hour visa-free stay for passengers of large cruise ships. They are to visit St. Petersburg and Moscow and their program also includes the games," he said.
New Zealand will face Russia in St. Petersburg on June 17.
"Foreign fans demonstrate great interest in visiting Confederations Cup events in St. Petersburg," Moby SPL chief Sergei Kotenev said. "Since February, our company has been selling tourist packages that include sea cruises to St. Petersburg and attending the (Confederations Cup) matches. In total, more than 300 such packages were sold and today our ferry brought the first groups of fans from Australia and New Zealand."
Similar programs will be launched during the 2018 World Cup events in Russia.
"We are already working on the UK, Chinese and Finnish markets and plan to start sales in Spain and Italy soon," Kotenev said. "The demand will depend on the number of available tickets, security and other factors."
Russia is currently at the final countdown to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which kicks off on Saturday in four cities, namely St. Petersburg, Moscow, Sochi and Kazan. The FIFA Confederations Cup, dubbed the ‘Tournament of Champions,’ will be held between June 17 and July 2 in Russia and is also viewed by experts as just a rehearsal, with only one year to go to the FIFA World Cup.
Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.