UNWTO’s secretary general seeks to visit FIFA World Cup in Russia

This aerial view taken with a drone shows Luzhniki Stadium (C) and the Moskva River in Moscow on November 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV

MADRID: The newly-appointed Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, said on Monday he hopes to visit matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

He said he was a big football fan and the World Cup would encourage more tourists to visit Russia this year. “I hope to have enough time to visit [the tournament],” he told Russian journalists.

“We have a very interesting and concrete project of how to develop tourism in Russia,” he said, adding that UNWTO representatives planned to meet with a Russian delegation on the margins of the International Tourism Fair (FITUR), a world’s biggest tourism event, due to kick off in Madrid on January 17. More to it, in his words, Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg would host a UNWTO General Assembly session in 2019.

Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.