Travel agents are benefiting from the thousands of football fans travelling to Moscow for the Champions League Final.
Around 50,000 people are expected to travel to Russia for the final between Chelsea and Manchester United on May 21. With flights and accommodation increasingly difficult to find, determined fans are turning to travel agents.
Specialist agency Real Russia director Bill Watkins said he had received an influx of calls. “Hotels are horribly expensive but it’s a once in a lifetime experience so people will spend the money. We have sold flights to the Baltic states, trains and private aircraft.”
Mark Donovan, who runs MG Donovan Travel and Promotions, has compiled a £1,099 package for 167 passengers including a chartered flight from Stansted and accommodation.
He said: “We’ve operated European trips for Manchester United for 18 years but never seen a level of interest like this.”
Thomas Cook, the official agent for Chelsea, has sold out all its day flights, while Travelcare is still taking requests from Manchester United fans.
Others are opting for a private jet and travelling just for the day to save on hotel costs. The Air Charter Service has a fleet of private aircraft flying to Moscow. Its managing director Tony Bauckham said: “The volume of calls has been extremely high. The event is becoming a logistical nightmare.”
In a rare move, Russia will allow supporters to use their tickets as a visa substitute for a 72–hour period from May 19–23.