Chinese online travel agency Ctrip said that the 2018 World Cup, which runs from June 14 to July 15, will attract more than 100,000 Chinese tourists who are expected to generate 3 billion yuan in revenue during their time in Russia.
According to a person in charge of Ctrip’s outbound travel market, about 20 direct flights are currently running from China to Russia every day, with an estimated 4,000 Chinese tourists arriving in Russia on an average day.
According to statistics, during the 2018 World Cup so far, more than 5,000 Chinese have bought tourism products via Ctrip alone. That number is more than ten times that of the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
According to an opinion poll by an appraisal agency with FIFA, 87 percent of Chinese respondents expressed their eagerness to watch the World Cup, more than the number of Russian, Brazilian, Italian and US citizens.
Easy visa policy has made traveling more convenient. China is Russia’s largest source of tourism, while Russia offers a relaxed tourist visa policy to Chinese citizens.
In recent years, Russia has granted visa-free entry to Chinese tour groups and Russia’s Far East has started to issue electronic visas to Chinese tourists. During the event, tourists with World Cup tickets will also get visa-free entry in to Russia.
More China-Russia flights were added this year to keep up with demand. Chinese cities including Xi’an, Nanchang, Guiyang and Fuzhou have added direct flights to Moscow and St Petersburg.
In addition, the rising exchange rate of the yuan against Russia’s ruble has made shopping in Russia a good choice for Chinese visitors.
This year, Ctrip displayed 600 Russian travel itineraries on its website. Other domestic and foreign travel agencies have also developed new products to attract potential tourists.
Prices of hotel rooms and other facilities are also rising significantly. From mid-June to mid-July, group tours and independent tours are sold at an average price of 14,000 yuan, double the normal price.
It’s estimated that a 9-day group tour which is sold at around 13,000 yuan in July will be priced at 7,000 yuan in September and October, so many tourists are choosing to go to Russia after the World Cup ends.
According to the Ctrip report, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing and Xi’an are cities seeing the largest number of outbound tourism, and people in Guangdong, Hebei, Fujian and Beijing are spending the most during the World Cup.
Ten Russian cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi, Vladivostok and Irkutsk, are the hottest destinations because 8 of the ten will hold football matches during the World Cup.
Russian tour guides are also in high demand. Chinese visitors expect to learn about Russian culture and history but also want to communicate with local people.