World Cup 2018: Tourist flows to be affected by many factors

World Cup is considered a major opportunity for tourism in Russia, with up to 1 million tourists expected to visit the country during the event. Increased tourist flows over the summer are expected to create a positive impact for the following years. Moscow and St Petersburg will be one of the key fan hubs, with the later expected to host 400,000 visitors during the World Cup.

The number of inbound arrivals in Russia is expected to record a CAGR of 4% by 2022, reaching 37.5 million trips. From a conservative standpoint, Euromonitor’s Travel Forecast Model forecasts 1.4% increase in the number of total arrivals to Russia in 2018, directly caused by hosting a major sporting event. However, negative factors, such as lack of mid-tier accommodation facilities, safety concerns, relatively high visiting costs and burdensome visa regulations for non-ticket holders will have an impact on the incoming tourist flows. Furthermore, recent political tension between Russia and UK is also likely to undermine tourist flows from the later.

In order to understand the top countries by number of visitors to the World Cup we can look at the number of Fan ID’s that have been issued, in lieu of the standard visas that tourists are generally required to obtain before travelling to the country. It has been reported that 22,500 fan ID’s have been issued to United States citizens, despite the national team not qualifying for the tournament. This shows the growing interest in the sport within the country, with Major League soccer experiencing significant growth maintain between an 87-91% average sell-out ratios across the last three seasons. Mexican fans ordered 16,000 ID’s and ranked second after the US. A similar story to the US is China. Chinese fans ordered 14,500 ID’s, again, despite the national team not qualifying for the tournament. Several Latin American countries also posted significant numbers. Argentina, Peru and Brazil ordered 13,000, 12,000 and 9,700 FAN ID’s respectively. The most demand stemming from within the boundaries of Western Europe was Germany, a favourite to win the tournament for many, with fans ordering 10,600 ID’s.

There is little doubt that hosting a mega-event such as a World Cup leads to a spike in sales and activity across many industries. Apart from travel industry, retail and consumer foodservice industries are likely to be the most immediate benefactors, and the positive effect will be generated by increase in tourist flows as well as increasing level of consumer confidence during the event. Furthermore, demand for accommodation will spike in the cities where games will be played. However flows of tourists, while increasing, might fall short of the figures Russian authorities expect. Infrastructure, introduced for the World Cup will benefit the growth of Russian football, especially RPL, however it is investments into transport upgrades that will have the major effect for Russian cities.

Further insights are available in the webinar, ‘The Influence of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Global Domestic Football Leagues’. To receive the complimentary recording, visit: