The Russia World Cup 2018 has come to a successful end, and we all look forward to a well-deserved summer vacation and we will take some time to reflect on this amazing event. My own World Cup impression has been a long great work experience, just like an adrenaline rush, comparable with my previous work experience from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel & Business Center was an official FIFA venue accommodation. In the hotel the scenery changes every day, no two days in the hotel business are the same. We hosted lots of football fans from many corners of the world; mainly from Colombia, Switzerland, England, Poland, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and a few Swedes, whom all travelled to Moscow – Russia to support and cheer for their team with big hopes to win the exquisite FIFA World Cup trophy.

At the same time, we had many media companies in-house such as BBC radio, talkSPORT, Netflix, and many more. All of these guests with different nationalities mixed perfectly well together in the hotel, hanging out in the Lobby bar during the day, using our well-equipped gym for an early morning swim in our 25-meter swimming pool, visiting one of our three restaurants, or going outside for a smoke and taking selfies with our man-sized Zabivaka located in the garden, but mainly watching the football games from our big TV screens in the Lobby Bar zipping on a large cold beverage and some snacks.

And I’m certain that most of all these football fans travelled to Russia for the very first time, not knowing what to expect from this big cold eastern country, except for what they had read from newspapers in their home countries or been told third hand.

I have spoken to many of my international hotel guests during the Championship and I must say, that I have heard only very positive things about the Championship, how well-organized and great everything has been. Fantastic comments on Moscow and other Russian cities, on how friendly the atmosphere has been everywhere and how helpful people have been, even TV screens in metro wagons, free transportation, free WI-FI in many places, and what a great feeling it has been in the FAN FEST area overlooking the seven sister Moscow University and beautiful Moscow City from Sparrow Hills, or crowded and festive Nikolskaya Street close to the Red Square with many ecstatic fans from all over the world, not to mention the weather that has shown its best side.

Many of the well-known footballers and pundits, who stayed in the hotel, had experienced previous World Championships, but they all claimed that this World Cup in Russia was the best one so far.

I’ve had the opportunity to host many famous English Premium League footballers, but I guess, the most well-known footballer in the hotel during the World Cup was bad-boy Diego Armando Maradona, who visited our hotel daily for one week where he participated as a commentator in a South American radio show and danced his way out of our hotel after the show.

Russia and Russian people has shown their warm and gracious hospitality to everyone who visited Russia during this World Cup, so for all above reasons I’m confident that Russia will experience a tourist’s boom next year and beyond, many tourists who want to come back to explore and experience more of this extraordinary country. Well-done and congratulation, Russia.

Mac Karlsson – Sweden – GM Radisson Slavianskaya