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Indians are planning their dream trip to Russia for FIFA World Cup; are you?

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Ticket bookings by Indians for Russia have increased 400 percent and flight searches to Russian destinations during the FIFA World Cup have shot up 23 percent. Market experts attribute this to the favorable initiatives executed by the Russian government, such as the FAN-ID for FIFA 2018.

The biggest event of the year — the football World Cup — is barely six months away. Here’s a primer on how much you may spend if you want to catch the action live in Russia. The mascot for the 2018 World Cup in Russia is a wolf named Zabivaka, which in Russian means ‘the one who scores’. And you will have to turn into Zabivaka if you wish to score tickets for the football festival.

The demand for tickets for the tournament — to be held from June 14 to July 15 — is huge. ..The data also shows that around 73 per cent travellers are planning to travel to Moscow for the opening ceremony at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium which will also host the final, followed by 16 per cent and 4 per cent to St. Petersburg and Rostow respectively.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is around the corner, and another set of historical football memories will soon be created. The month-long celebration of the beautiful game this time around comes to Russia, where 32 of the best football nations in the world will compete for the coveted FIFA World Cup from 14 June to 15 July. As per a study conducted by travel marketplace ixigo, Russia is set to be the summer destination of the year for Indians.

With more and more Indians planning to spend this summer in the host country, Russia has recorded a 23 per cent month-on-month increase in flight searches from India during the tournament, says the ixigo study. 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, said a statement.

With the FIFA World Cup 2018 fast approaching, more and more Indians are planning to spend this summer in the host country Russia , says a study conducted by travel marketplace ixigo. According to ixigo, Russia has recorded a 23 per cent 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, said a statement. ixigo data reveals that 48 per cent Indians, travelling during the tournament, are planning to travel solo, followed by 16 per cent with families and 12 per cent 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 be a part of the football extravaganza whilst discovering nearby places in the host cities. “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,” said Aloke Bajpai, ixigo CEO and Co-founder.

The data also shows that around 73 per cent travellers are planning to travel to Moscow for the opening ceremony at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium which will also host the final, followed by 16 per cent and 4 per cent to St. Petersburg and Rostow respectively.

MATCH TICKETS

The tournament comprises 64 matches played at 12 venues located in 11 cities across the Eurasian country. The ticket sales so far have been via random selection draws. The next sales window is between March 13 and April 3. Last-minute sales will also be offered between April 18 and July 15, the day of the final.

Russia has made several tweaks to their visa policy to help fans attend the World Cup. People will be able to visit Russia without a visa before as well as during the World Cup, regardless of citizenship. But they will need an official identity document known as a FAN ID that will be issued by the Russian authorities free of cost.

There are three ways to get a FAN ID. It can be delivered to your place of stay or can be collected from issuing centres or stadiums. After you have bought the match ticket, apply for a FAN ID. The application will need to be approved first. The application can be made through a portal or at one of the issuance centres.

Weather: Expected to be warm and sunny by Russian standards.

Charging appliances: Electricity throughout the country is 220 volt/50Hz with a European standard two-pin plug. Fans will need a converter for Indian plugs.

Currency conversion: One Russian ruble is approximately Rs 1.15.

Flight ticket: Bengaluru-Delhi-Moscow and back — Rs 60,000. Average fare one way is Rs 15,000 to Rs 35,000 and Rs 35,000 to Rs 70,000 for a round trip.

Business-class tickets: Rs 3.5 lakh for a round trip to Moscow. One way is about Rs 1.7 lakh.

First-class tickets: Rs 8 lakh for a round trip to Moscow. One way is about Rs 3.4 lakh.

Average hotel stay cost: Five-star hotels in Moscow, like the Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton Palace or Marriott Courtyard cost $300-$350 per night. Four-star ones cost $185-$200 per night. Five-star properties in St Petersburg cost $250-$300 per night. Some of the leading premium hotels in the city are the Four Seasons Lion Palace, The Hermitage and Corinthia. Four-star hotels range between $175-$200 per night.

PLACES TO SEE

St Petersburg

The Grand Palace (Peterhof): An architectural marvel, this has been the crown residence of the Russian emperors

St Isaac’s Cathedral: The biggest Orthodox Cathedral in St Petersburg is an outstanding example of late classicism.

Palace square: The heart of the Northern capital is one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles in the world.

Peter and Paul Cathedral: The oldest church in St Petersburg has a monument of the Petrine Baroque. Top party destinations: Lomonosov, Tipplers, Mishka.

Moscow

Moscow Kremlin: The centre of the Russian state and the residence of the President of Russia, it symbolises the country.

St Basil’s Cathedral: This holy place is a wonder of architecture and has nine altars that are spread out on a single foundation.

Bolshoi Theatre: The most famous theatre in Moscow shows around 3-4 different operas and 2-3 ballets every year.

Red Square: Moscow’s most visited attraction and the centre of Russian history.

Izmaylovo: The largest and best known flea market is the perfect place for souvenirs and Soviet antiques. Top party destinations: City Space, O2 Lounge.

(With inputs from IANS)