Over 100,000 Chinese football fans flock to Russia World Cup

Photo: VCG

Although China's national team failed to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, it doesn't seem that Chinese fans' passion for football's blue riband tournament have been affected .

Some 100,000 Chinese football fans are expected to visit Russia for the World Cup, ranking top three among all countries and regions, and that women are showing greater enthusiasm than men, according to China's leading flight and hotel booking platform Ctrip.

They will bring in avenue of over three billion yuan for Russia, the platform predicted.

"About 20 Chinese flights shuttle between China and Russia and nearly 4,000 Chinese passengers land in Russia every day during the World Cup period, making our country become the main tourism-generating region for Russia," said a spokesperson for Ctrip.

According to FIFA statistics, Chinese football fans have purchased more than 40,000 tickets for the World Cup, ranking ninth among all countries and regions.

This compares favorably with the 2002 World Cup, when the Chinese team qualified for the World Cup finals for the first and only time. That year, only around 50,000 Chinese fans turned up in Japan and South Korea to cheer on their heroes. At the two most recent World Cups in 2010 and 2014, fewer than 10,000 Chinese fans attended.

Simple visa application process also stimulates Chinese people to flock to Russia.

A recent survey conducted by Ctrip showed that bookings for flights to Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities in Russia have increased by 50 percent, with the number of tour groups to Russia rising by more than 35 percent.

They mainly travel to famous Russian scenic spots such as Red Square, Winter Palace, Kremlin Palace and Baikal Lake.

The World Cup in Russia is also a stage for Chinese companies to promote their brands, with names such as Wanda (property), Hisense (electronics), Vivo (smartphones) and Mengniu (dairy producer) all featuring prominently in World Cup-related advertising.

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