January 24 – Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism has named and shamed a list of hotels that have jacked up their prices by massive amounts for the World Cup.
Western journalists and fans have increasingly raised alarm bells about the cost of attending the tournament and now it has been revealed that prices at 41 hotels in six regions where World Cup matches will be played have in many cases been hiked up on their websites or through online travel booking for the period covering the tournament.
The Agora hotel in Kaliningrad which will host four group stage matches, tops the blacklist. The hotel should normally charge no more than the state-regulated 2,400 roubles (30.46 pounds) per night, the agency said. But during the World Cup, prices on online travel agent Booking.com have been listed as 129,200 roubles ($2,287.17) – a more than 5,000% increase on regular prices.
“Maybe there was an error in the system. The management is sorting it out,” Svetlana Ovchinnikova, the administrator of the Agora hotel, told Reuters. “As the administrator, I can tell you…we have not received that kind of money.”
At least 1.5 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Russia during the World Cup between June 14 and July 15 and some of the establishments on the list include members of large chains.
The agency found that the price for a standard room on the website of the Hampton by Hilton Volgograd Profsoyuznaya was up nine percent. “This information does not correspond to reality,” the general manager of the Hampton by Hilton Volgograd Profsoyuznaya, Ineza Malikova, told Reuters.
The big question is whether the Russian authorities will step in with regulation to give fans some protection in the hotel marketplace or whether they believe they have done enough to just send a warning.
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