Sberbank works out how many foreign World Cup 2018 fans returned to Russia in 2018 visa-free

Mar 07, 2019
  • Every tenth tourist who came to Russia during World Cup 2018 had returned to the country by the end of the year using their Fan IDs. This is 5.4% of the total foreign tourists in the year.
  • The bank card expenses of returning tourists in this period amounted to at least 9.9 bln roubles.
  • Citizens of the US, Germany, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Belarus returned to Russia most.

7 March 2019, Moscow – Sberbank has worked out how many tourists who came to Russia during World Cup 2018 returned to the country in August–December 2018. Every tenth football fan returned — 5.4% of the total inflow of foreign tourists to Russia. Those who returned in this period spent at least 9.9 bln roubles using their bank cards.

Prior to the football championship, all fans were issued a Fan ID — a document which let them enter and exit Russia visa-free and multiple times until the end of 2018. An analysis of depersonalised bank card transaction data shows that citizens from almost every country in the world took advantage of this opportunity to travel.

The biggest number of returning fans was from the United States (43.8% of all tourists were from this country), followed by Germany (8.6%), Kazakhstan (5.7%), Brazil (5.3%), and Belarus (4.5%). The top five in terms of expenses was slightly different: US (48.3% of total expenses), Kazakhstan (10.5%), Germany (4%), Brazil (3.5%) and Belarus (2.7%). If the countries are ranked in terms of the ratio of fans who returned to those who didn’t return, first place goes to the US (20.4%), then Germany (17.5%), Switzerland (15%) and Brazil (14.6%).

World Cup 2018 encouraged tourists to travel around Russia. The five most popular cities among foreign tourists were Moscow (visited by citizens of 137 countries), Saint Petersburg (118), the Moscow Region (117), the Krasnodar Region (103), and the Republic of Tatarstan (81). In some regions the fans accounted for a significant share of the overall tourist flow: in the Nenets Autonomous Region they accounted for 16.7% of tourists, 9.7% in the Komi Republic, 8.9% in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region, 8.8% in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, and 8.3% in the Altai Republic. The countries whose citizens who visited the most Russian regions were Brazil and the US (83 regions each), and Germany (82 regions).