As the rupee hit a record low against the dollar, tourists from the country are shying away from going abroad and are instead heading for destinations such as Goa, Andaman and Gujarat.
The buying and selling price of the dollar in India was Rs 60.27 and Rs 60.29 on Thursday. Agents said a package to Europe generally costs Rs 1.60 lakh per person and includes return airfare, meals, rooms and transfers. But because of the rise in dollar rates, tourists have to shell out around Rs 2.10 lakh per person.
Agents used to suggest that each passenger carry Rs 38,500 as personal expenses but now they are advising passengers to set aside Rs 42,000. “This means cost per person has increased by 20%. When a family of four is travelling, it would be highly expensive,” said Joydeep Mukherjee, the regional (east) vice-president of IATA Agents’ Association of India.
Agents said that besides Europe and America, South East Asian destinations are very popular among tourists from Bengal. But tourists are cutting down tours even to Southeast Asia because currencies of Southeast Asian destinations are not readily available in the city. Generally, tourists from the city carry dollars from Kolkata and then exchange them with local currencies once they reach destinations.
“In the present scenario, Indian tourists prefer domestic destinations like Goa, Gujarat and Andaman. Even places like Kashmir and North-East are in demand. Tourists are keen on visiting Nepal and Bhutan also,” said Mukherjee.
Although July and August are not the peak season for tourism, this is the time when most tourists book their holiday packages in advance for the festive season, which spans from September to January. And going by the trends, travel agents are expecting a huge footfall in domestic destinations this festive season.