Soccer fans aiming to go to the World Cup in Brazil next year should have fat wallets and plenty of holidays due to them, travel experts said, as sales of match tickets began yesterday.
They should be prepared to foot a bill twice as high as for a tour to South Africa three years ago, and apply for at least two weeks' leave to give them time to visit more South American countries. It would be a waste not to do so after spending more than 20 hours on a plane, they said.
Fifa will offer three million tickets in various sales periods. The first, which started yesterday and will run until October 10, allows people to submit applications on the Fifa.com website. Prices start at US$90 for the group-stage matches, while the opening match costs US$220.
If there are more applications than available tickets, a random draw will determine the winners. More tickets will be available in subsequent sales phases, including last-minute grabs from April to July of next year.
Those who prefer group tours to individual travel will have to wait and see, as none of the local tour agencies had confirmed such offers by yesterday.
In any case, such packages will be pricey. It cost about HK$40,000 to HK$50,000 to join a group tour to the South African World Cup.
But a South American tour, including stops in Brazil, could be double that, said Joseph Tung Yao-chung, head of the Travel Industry Council.
Fans could fly to Brazil via Dubai, South Africa or Qatar, with total flying time of more than 20 hours.
Having spent so much time getting to South America, agents said it made sense to visit more than one country there.
Kuoni Travel manager Raymond Ng To-wing said about 2,000 people a year went to South America in tour groups, with the most popular one taking 19 days.
He said that in the past four years, the agency had seen double-digit growth in the number of visitors going to the continent.