The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held in North America, but it is unclear where the final will be played. The competition’s most prestigious match will be contested by three American cities.
The final might be held in Dallas, Los Angeles or MetLife Stadium in New Jersey suburbs, according to Global Tourism reporter Dawit Habtemariam. FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, is expected to announce the venue for the match in September.
Tourism officials in each city have made their case for the choice of venue. Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC Tourism+Conventions, cited New York City’s love of soccer as one argument why the city could host the World Cup final.
In addition, Habtemariam said, long visa processing wait times have made it more difficult for destination marketers in the United States to attract visitors from key international markets.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, the typical wait time for a U.S. Embassy interview for a first-time visitor visa applicant averages more than 400 days in countries such as India, Brazil and China. According to Adam Burke, CEO of LA Tourism, these long wait times are the biggest challenge facing the U.S. tourism industry. NYC Tourism+Conventions CEO Dixon explained that in order to increase tourism, the city needs to attract visitors who need visas.
In many important tourist marketplaces, Habtemariam says, there are many travelers with valid visitor visas. Burke estimates that there are 5 million Indian nationals with valid 10-year visas, and Dixon claims that this particular group of travelers accounts for a significant portion of his company’s revenue.
India, which surpassed China as the world’s most populated country this April, is the largest market for foreign travel. A growing middle class eager to travel abroad has helped India’s tourism sector. In 2022, India recorded the largest volume of international travel in Asia for the first time. According to travel software provider RateGain, foreign leisure airline bookings from India have increased 40% for travel between June and August compared to the previous year.