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Foreign tourists expected to shell out $1.6 bln during 2018 FIFA World Cup

The Russian minister of economic development is confident that the anti-Russian sanctions will not affect the World Cup’s economy

MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. According to the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, foreigners will spend over 100 bln rubles (about $1.6 bln) during the upcoming FIFA World Cup, Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin said during an interview to the Sovetsky Sport newspaper.

"According to our estimates, foreigners will spend over 100 bln rubles during the World Cup in Russia," he said.

Oreshkin is confident that the anti-Russian sanctions will not affect the World Cup’s economy. "There’s politics, there’s the economy, and then there’s the life of regular people. The demand for a global competitive sports event, such as the World Cup, is always high. Look at what prices the tickets are going for. We expect the matches to be sold out. And we can witness the same in the sphere of culture. During this political storm, tours by musicians, theater and ballet groups continue," the minister stressed.

Speaking about the economic effect of holding the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Oreshkin noted that at the national level, it would make little impact on GDP. "Thankfully, our country’s GDP is high - 100 trillion rubles (about $1.6 trn). Hundreds of billions in investments are within the margin of a few tenths of a percent. On the other hand, for some cities and regions, the effect caused by a growing demand due to the tourists’ arrival can be measured by dozens of percents. It’s impossible to compare the scale of Moscow and, for example, Saransk," he explained.

The minister also stressed that the modernization of infrastructure would have a positive effect on many sectors of the economy and on people’s quality of life. "I will repeat, with the construction of modern hotels, airports, roads, the population’s activity in regional centers will rise. It will be easier to do business in, say, Nizhny [Novgorod] or Rostov [-on-Don]. The cities will transform as well. Now many people laugh when they see how in some places, people mask the facades of old buildings with banners. However, the preparation for the World Cup did not suppose a total update of urban infrastructure. Our goal was to lay the groundwork for further modernization," the minister noted.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place at 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara - from June 14 until July 15.