Euro 2012: Accommodation price gouging may keep fans away

Soccer fans are gearing up for the Euro-2012 championship to be held in Poland and Ukraine. But with skyrocketing accommodation prices in Ukraine, some fear many of them may opt to stay at home.

­Ukrainian hotels and hostels are seeking to cash in on the mass influx of soccer enthusiasts pouring into the country.

Private landlords are also renting out their apartments at much higher prices than normal. For some, it is a way to receive a small financial boost.

“Our pensions are next to nothing,” an elderly landlady told RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevksy. “Our days are numbered and we want to see them off in style and earn a little money. That’s why we will let a room in our flat to football fans. We’ll start at 50 dollars a night – depending on who stays here, but the price could go higher.”

But for those seeking more comfortable conditions, prices will be biting. The rental costs for an elite Kiev apartment can reach up to 10 thousand dollars a month.

Staying at a hostel could be an alternative, but the prices of some have increased by more than ten-fold.

And then there are the tent camping sites, costing between 10 to 55 euros a night.

But the lack of comfortable accommodation for a reasonable price is precisely what has fans worried.

“Surely you can stop in the tent, but for a reasonable bed-and-breakfast type place I think we’re gonna get absolutely stormed,” fan Fabrize Tracanna told RT.

However, Tracanna also noted that hotel prices in other countries also rose drastically during such events in the past.

But city administration head Aleksandr Popov says Kiev is ready for the tournament. He noted that hostel prices varied between 18 and 85 euros a night, while hotel prices were between 27 and 276 euros a night.

According to Ukrainian real estate agencies, the average rental prices for a one-room apartment in Kiev have risen from $711 in April 2010 to $742 in April 2011 and up to $879 in the same month of 2012. 

With a large number of low-cost flights available, some fans may opt to take a day-long trip to Kiev and come back home. Such prospects may make it difficult for Ukraine to pay off the 14 billion euros it has invested into the project.