Vishal Singh, a senior executive at a multinational firm in Gurgaon, decided to visit Greece with his family despite the uncertainty. “We went ahead with our plan as it gave us an opportunity to be part of history. Besides, the total cost was comparatively cheaper than other places in Europe,” Singh, who came back just three days ago, said.
Singh is not alone.
Despite being at the centre of a debt crisis, which almost threatened to push it out of the eurozone, Greece is attracting lots of tourists from India.
In fact, out of every 10 Indians going abroad, three have headed to Greece, according to travel associations and tour operators.
Along with Greece, other European destinations also seem to be high on Indians’ travel list. The reason: An already weak euro, which has been hit further by the crisis. The common currency used by 19 countries in the continent has weakened over 8% against the dollar this year.
This is in contrast to the situation three years ago, when Switzerland, Austria and Italy were the preferred holiday destinations.
“This year, we have seen most Indians heading towards Greece, who have taken advantage of the fact that the currency there has become weak... it has been the most popular destination and irrespective of the politico-economic uncertainty, it is expected to draw tourists from India,” Subhash Goyal, founder chairman, STIC Travel Group and president, Indian Association of Tour Operators, told HT.
“Greece is increasing in popularity among Indian travellers,” added Ranjeet Oak, chief business officer (holidays) at MakeMyTrip.
“It is safe for anybody planning to travel to that country,” Goyal added.
Even though Greece has clinched a last-minute deal to remain in the eurozone, travel agents said one should carry enough euros in cash to cover for on-ground expenses and should not rely on exchanging currencies or withdrawing cash from automated teller machines (ATMs).