European Fan Snub Threatens Ukraine Economy's Soccer Stimulus
The "reluctance" of European football fans to travel to the "former Soviet country’s eastern edge" for Euro 2012 threatens Ukraine’s ability to reach its goal in tourist revenue while hosting the tournament, according to Krasnolutska & Panja of BLOOMBERG. Ukraine does not feel it can reach its goal of €1.5B ($1.9B) in tourist revenue for Euro 2012 "as the continent’s debt crisis imperils demand for its steel and grain exports." The final figure "may be less than half of that target." Supporters "balk at transport and accommodation costs" in spite of almost $14B of pre- tournament investment. VTB Capital economist Dmitry Fedotkin said, “Money is unlikely to rain down on Ukraine. I don’t expect Euro 2012 to considerably spur economic growth.” At Euro 2008, visitors spent an average €1,327 ($1,660) and €983 ($1,229) a head in co-hosts Austria and Switzerland. About 500,000 tourists will probably visit Ukraine for the three-week tournament, leaving a combined €400M ($500M), or approximately €800 ($1,000) each, it estimated. English fans are among those reluctant to travel. English officials estimate only 3,000 to 4,000 fans will make the trip to Ukraine and Poland, a 10th of the number that traveled the last time the team qualified for Europe’s premier national soccer contest eight years ago in Germany (BLOOMBERG, 6/11). In London, Shaun Walker reported that "high costs, accommodation chaos and a fear of violence" have combined for England's small band of fans. It is "the smallest travelling England support to attend a major tournament in living memory." However, fans who have made the trip said that they have been "amazed by how welcoming" the city has been, even if many are "dealing with unorthodox accommodation." The shortage of hotel rooms and the high price of those available has left many supporters headed to "a giant makeshift camping park on the outskirts of town," where more than 2,000 England and France fans were expected Monday night. The fans are staying "in tents with temporary bedding" for £7 ($11) per person (INDEPENDENT, 6/11).