They are senior citizens now. Veterans of nine FIFA World Cup finals. The Chatterjee couple from Kolkata are now gearing up for their 10th FIFA World Cup finals. Interestingly, they are not the only ones. There are are many Indian football fans getting ready for some live action for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.
According to an online travel marketplace portal Ixigo, More and more Indians are looking forward to spending their summers in Russia for the high octane World Cup extravaganza as the football fever slowly grips the nation ahead of 14th June kick-off date.
Russia has recorded a 23% month-on-month increase in flight searches from India during the tournament. The growth has been accelerated with favourable initiatives by the government such as visa-free entry for people with World Cup tickets, from 10 days before the first game and up to 10 days after the last game, ixigo has said in a statement.
The data from the travel company reveals that 48% Indians, travelling during the tournament, are planning to travel solo, followed by 16% with families and 12% as couples. With June being one of the best times to visit Russia, travellers are opting to stay for a duration of 8.5-10 days to witness the football stars and their predatory skills whilst discovering nearby places in the host cities.
Around 73% travellers are planning to travel for the opening ceremony at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which will also host the final, followed by 16% and 4% to St. Petersburg and Rostow respectively, the data further reveals.
Aloke Bajpai, ixigo CEO and Co-founder, said, “As the excitement for the World Cup continues to build up, more and more people are planning their travel to Russia. We’re expecting a 25% surge in travel bookings over the coming days. Additional discounts by airlines and travel portals such as ixigo, are helping football enthusiasts take their dream trip to Russia for the FIFA World Cup to support their favourite teams.”
Despite the cloud of controversies and geopolitical crisis looming large over the host nation, the ticket sales saw an overwhelming response. The tickets priced between ₹ 6,000 and ₹ 70,500 were first announced by the world governing body in September last year. By the second week of January this year, over 3.5 million tickets were requested for the first phase of announcement, since the start of sales on 5 December 2017.
The number of requests for tickets rose to a whopping 4,021,211 by the end of January with the random selection draw for ticket sales closing in.