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Cheap thrills

‘Have discounted tickets, will travel’ has been the Indian traveller’s motto. Now it’s just official

india Updated: Sep 10, 2011 19:30 IST

Bargain hunting is an art. And we Indians have perfected it. From grocery shopping to buying tickets, we demand our cut. Nothing makes us happier than those signboards and advertisements announcing the end of season sales. And we certainly know how to do that percentage calculation in real time. So when the Experian Hitwise Travel report confirmed our numero uno status in this department, we just smiled and popped up the collar. The report, released last week, surveyed about 2 lakh websites, 119 industries and over 60 lakh search terms to figure out what was always known to us: Indian travellers search the most for the cheapest airline, bus and train tickets.

While some may think that the study is unfair, biased and downgrades our status, we think that the report should be taken in the right spirit: it just shows we are smart and intelligent. We know how to stretch the rupee and get its value’s worth. Having popped our collar once again (thank you!), we must also add that the company is pretty daft to spend money on a survey like this since half of the world must be engaging

in the same thing: looking for cheap tickets. As far as we are concerned, the words ‘free’, ‘cheap’ and ‘sale’ evoke the same sentiments the world over (think: the annual Harrods sale). Considering half of the world is still neck-deep in recession and can’t even think of travelling club or ‘cattle’ class, the intrepid Indian traveller is at least keeping many an airline afloat. Just look at the number of countries that are hankering for their share in the travel pie.

As for the airlines, they shouldn’t be too worried that we only eye cheap tickets. Our market is big enough to ensure a steady supply of travellers: the less the price, the more will join the bandwagon. And yes, before feeling disheartened with our purchasing power, ask a certain Captain GR Gopinath how he managed to avoid turbulence and make merry while the world gloomed and doomed.