Travel to Russia during the 2018 World Cup is up 50%
compared to this time last year, according to data from flight-analysis firm
The soccer tournament will take place in Russia from June 14
to July 15 and as of this week, 2.5 million tickets have been sold, according
to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
The 1994 World Cup in the U.S. had the highest attendance at
3.57 million, and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was second at 3.43 million.
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2006 World Cup in
Germany were the other two tournaments that drew more than 3 million spectators,
with 3.17 million and 3.37 million, respectively.
Even though the U.S. did not qualify for the World Cup this
year for the first time since 1986, the U.S. is still the second-biggest source
for ticket sales after host country Russia. The U.S. similarly was the
second-biggest source for the 2014 World Cup, trailing only host country Brazil.
U.S. flight bookings to Russia for the 2018 World Cup increased
1.8 times from last year, a greater increase than some qualifying countries,
like South Korea (1.3 times) and Germany (1.1 times).
Additionally, the U.S. has the largest share of flight
traffic growth to Russia during the World Cup, with a 12.4% share, followed by
Brazil (6.6%), Spain (5.8%) and Argentina (5.6%).
World Cup ticket holders must obtain a FAN ID, which grants
them visa-free entry into Russia during the tournament and up to 10 days before
and after the first and last matches.
ForwardKeys noted that many Russians appear to be staying
home during the tournament -- outbound bookings from Russia during the World
Cup are 12.4% behind where they were last year.