Latin Americans are racing to Russia in record numbers for 2018 FIFA World Cup

16 May 2018 3 min. read

With Russia to host the FIFA World Cup in June this year, thousands of Latin fans are preparing for a long journey. Flights to Russia from Latin America have skyrocketed, and, aside from the United States – with its large Latino community – five Latin countries are the biggest purchasers of World Cup tickets.

Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Peru have bought the most tickets to the World Cup. In a frenzy of football tourism, forward bookings from Latin America have multiplied by up to as much as 118 times according to a recent report by ForwardKeys, a travel and big data analyst consulting firm. 

The data looks at bookings this year for the world cup in comparison to the same dates in the previous year, and only considered passengers staying one night or more at the destination, as part of a round trip. 

Latin American countries experience large growth in flights to Russia for the Fifa World Cup

Flights from Mexico to Russia have multiplied by a factor of 10, with the country expected to have a large presence at the competition. Mexico’s team will play world champions Germany at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on the 17th of June.

“According to FIFA (International Federation of Association Football), a week ago football fans from Mexico bought 51,700 tickets for the football matches in Russia," said Alexei Tikhnenko, the head of the Hospitality Board at the Moscow Sports and Tourism Department.

For Peru, that number is 79 times higher over last year’s figures with the team set to take on Australia, Denmark and France. Panamanians have also entered into a historic rush toward Eurasia with their debut World Cup performance to be held on the 18th of June against Belgium. Panama will also face England and Tunisia in the competition. 

Latin American countries experience large growth in flights to Russia for the Fifa World Cup in numbers

In comparison to last year’s figures, 13 times as many Colombians are heading to Russia. Colombia are ranked 13th in the FIFA rankings and have qualified for the competition five times through the history of the tournament. 

The report identifies Brazil as the largest group of Latin Americans travelling to Russia in terms of volume. ForwardKeys does not provide its methodology in formulating the statistics, however, it shows that Brazil’s volume is the greatest – equal to a figure of 1. Behind Brazil, is Argentina with a score of 0.8, followed by Mexico (0.6).

ForwardKeys is a consulting firm which uses big data to predict the future of travel worldwide. The recent report is an analysis of reservation data from travel agencies around the globe, titled ‘Latin America Travel Outlook: First half of 2018 travel outlook’. The firm analyses over 17 million booking transactions per day and uses the data to anticipate global tourism trends and market opportunities.

Related: Brazil, Latin America's growth driver for long haul air connections.