Kavita Rawat, a media professional in Mumbai, has been saving for her dream trip to Europe this Christmas for sometime now. However, after talking to travel agents she soon realised that one could no longer think of a short European holiday within a budget of Rs. 2.5 lakh.
To avoid shelling out Rs. 3.5- lakh for her Europe trip, Rawat is, instead, flying to Thailand.
The spoilsport is a declining rupee, which has been steadily falling against the US dollar, Euro and other currencies, thereby making hotel accommodation, air tickets and visa charges costlier for overseas travellers.
Tour operators and agents say outbound travellers are opting for shorter durations and cheaper locations this Christmas.
The rupee closed at a one-month low of Rs. 55.07 against the US dollar on Friday, a 22 paise loss from previous last close of Rs. 54.85. From Rs. 53 against the US dollar in the beginning of this year, it has so far lost more than Rs. 2, or 3.77%.
"There is a dip in the number of travellers to Europe and the US," points Jay Bhatia, chairman, western region, Travel Agents Association of India.
Madhavan Menon, managing director, Thomas Cook India confirmed. "We have observed growing demand for short hauls."
"A substantial number of travellers reduced the duration of their holidays and opted for shorter vacations," said Vishal Suri, deputy chief operating officer at tour operator Kuoni India.