Soaring hotel prices will see England fans staying in Gdańsk during World Cup

PAP/EPA/Ali Haider

Thousands of World Cup football fans are expected to descend on the Polish port city of Gdańsk in the lead up to the competition in a bid to avoid accommodation price hikes of up to 18,000 per cent.

Russia’s tourism watchdog is said to be coming down hard on those trying to exploit accommodation shortages in the 12 host locations, but demand still seems to be outweighing supply in the westernmost Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

The city will host four of the games of the competition, along with the English-Belgium blockbuster, but the city itself is unlikely to be able to the accommodate the 35,000 fans expected at each – despite the stadium being one of the smallest built for the competition.

Instead, members of the official England Supporters’ Club will, along with other spectators, be looking further afield to find a place to stay. Some will travel from the capitals of Riga and Vilnius, by boat or plane, or from Gdańsk, 150 kms away.

Those wanting to stay a little closer, in the Kaliningrad area itself, may find themselves limited in their choices. A campsite for 69 pounds a night may be the cheapest option available, with prices in hotels otherwise reaching an astronomical 3,125 pounds a night.

Others reasons for a general reticence from English fans to visit Russia may be connected to Russian-British diplomatic ties being at an all-time low. The recent scandal around the Skripal poisoning has led to a souring in relations.

Russia’s foothold in the middle of the Baltic states is due to a caprice of history. When the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia regained independence Kaliningrad remained in Russia’s hands. It has traditionally being of historical and military significance to Russia, particularly as it is the only port which remains ice-free all year round.

Over 1 million fans are expected to visit Russia for the competition and they are expected to spend up until 1.4 billion pounds during their stay.

The World Cup will run from mid-June to mid-July and will take place in cities such as Moscow, Sochi and Yekatirinburg.