With the rupee suffering its worst month in decades, the foreign travel plans of Indians have been hit — but with a little help from tour operators, they are managing to keep the flag flying.
Indian tourists are opting to shorten the duration of their stay, switching to cheaper destinations and downgrading their hotels to more economical ones, rather than call off their travel plans entirely.
According to a survey by travel portal Yatra.com, 63% of the respondents were positive that they would go ahead with their foreign holiday plans despite the rupee depreciation pushing up costs. The survey was conducted among 6,000 individuals, mostly professionals, half of them in the age group of 25 to 45.
Asked if they would wait for the rupee to rise before travelling abroad, 43% said they would not, while 38% said they would wait for it to stabilise. The rest (19%) said they would go on holiday anyway.
Global online travel company Expedia said it was getting a huge number of requests from clients to alter itineraries to fit budgets. "Many travelers are looking at shortening the duration or downgrading accommodation options. Instead of choosing five-star hotels, they are looking at premium mid-segment properties, and bringing down a seven-day trip to four or five days," said Vikram Malhi, GM, South and Southeast Asia, Expedia.
"The depreciation of the rupee has hit the tourism industry, but we are trying to offer bargain deals," said Rajji Rai of the Travel Agents Association of India. "People earlier planning to visit the US are now opting for Europe because of lower costs. Those with even lower budgets are opting for eastern Europe or southeast Asia."
Travel portals are also offering tailor-made holidays to suit all budgets. "We are offering great discounts and offers, such as a three-day, two-night package for Dubai starting at Rs 28,000 per person," Malhi said.
According to the Yatra.com survey, southeast Asia is the destination of choice, followed by Europe and the US. Some 43% of respondents said they would like to travel within India, while 45% said the location would depend on the expenses involved. A full 12% said it doesn’t matter, showing that there is a big segment of well-heeled travellers for whom costs do not really matter.