Lithuania's coastal businesses fail to attract football fans heading to Kaliningrad
Businesses in Lithuania's coastal cities of Klaipėda and Neringa have failed to attract football fans heading to Russia's region of Kaliningrad to watch World Cup matches.
Tens of thousands of people from countries, like the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland, are expected to travel to Kaliningrad, Russia as the FIFA World Cup starts this week.
Officials estimate that part of them will travel via Lithuania by train, plane or car. Nevertheless, representatives of accommodation and catering establishments say they and the Lithuanian government have failed to attract people with higher income to spend at least several days in Lithuania.
"We'll have another missed chance. We should have done our homework earlier," Vida Kazuro, deputy director of Klaipėda Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, told BNS Lithuania. "We'll probably have individual cases, although everything could have been done better."
The FIFA World Cup will be held in 11 Russian cities, including the city of Kaliningrad. The local stadium has the capacity of around 35,000 people. It will host the group matches involving Croatia and Nigeria, Serbia and Switzerland, Spain and Morocco as well as England and Belgium.
Irma Baltrušaitienė, providing accommodation services on the Curonian Spit, told BNS Lithuania she's seen no major difference in reservations this year.
"There's a bit more of interest from Germans, and there are slightly more of Russians, but I doubt that they are coming here for the championship," she said.
Russia will host the World Cup from June 14 until July 15.