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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Weakened rupee hurts outbound tourism

Vanita Srivastava , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 29, 2013
First Published: 00:36 IST(29/6/2013) | Last Updated: 00:38 IST(29/6/2013)

Planning a trip to New Zealand? Chances are that you could shift your holiday destination to a place closer or perhaps a place within India. Also if you have a honeymoon package booked for 10 days to Switzerland, you may think of shortening it, thanks to the weakening of rupee.

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The falling rupee is gradually making a slowdown in foreign trips among Indians. Middle income groups are looking to offset the costs by opting for a holiday within India or a place closer.

“If there has been a decline then it is not bad for the nation’s economy because we have noticed a corresponding growth in domestic tourism during the same period. It is difficult to say whether this has happened because of the weakening of the rupee or the Uttarakhand tragedy,” says an official of the ministry of tourism.

Subhash Goyal, president of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO)agreed  that the outbound tourism could have declined marginally. “We were expecting nearly 18% growth but so far there has been around 5% growth.”

A study by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) released on Friday shows that the Indian tourist outflow has registered a significant drop between 15 and 20% in the last two months due to the falling rupees.

The study points out that many are opting for domestic options due to high air fares. The demand for destinations like Kashmir, Ladakh, Goa, Himachal and Sikkim are seeing a spurt in Indian travellers.

A weakened rupee will hurt all services which involve foreign exchange, including travel, says Rajeev Kohli, vice president, IATO. “But 20% is an irresponsible statement. People who have decided to travel will travel.”


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