The Russian resort of Sochi, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, is hoping to attract one million visitors during the 2018 football World Cup finals, city mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said on Monday.

“We know the importance of a World Cup for the development of the tourist industry. It will be a good promotional vehicle and we’re hoping for one million visitors during the event,” Pakhomov told journalists.

The Black Sea resort is one of the eleven host cities for the World Cup in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018.

FIFA will decide on July 24 how many matches will be played in each city, on the eve of the qualifying draw in St Petersburg.

“Everyone wants to host the leaders of world football during the World Cup like Spain or Germany, we’ll see during the draw (for the finals at the end of 2017) but the important thing for Russia is that such an event will obviously have an impact on the hearts and minds of people,” he added.

The matches in Sochi will be played in the stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics took place, where work is underway to extend it to a 45,000-seater capacity. – Agence France-Presse

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