As rupee dives, foreign travel costs soar
The Andheri-based Marwah family's African holiday could have been cheaper by at least Rs 25,000 had they made full payment for the trip on the day they booked it.mumbai Updated: Dec 14, 2011 01:03 IST
The Andheri-based Marwah family's African holiday could have been cheaper by at least Rs 25,000 had they made full payment for the trip on the day they booked it. The group of nine paid up 30 % of the cost of their Christmas holiday in Kenya and Tanzania on November 17. They were supposed to clear the rest of the amount within a week. However, four days later the US Dollar rose from Rs 48 to Rs 52 making the vacation costlier by about Rs. 25,000.
"We could have used that money for a small domestic holiday," said Dinesh Marwah, a garment trader.
Holiday budgets for many mid-segment travellers such as Marwah have gone haywire owing to the constantly depreciating rupee. On Tuesday, the rupee value hit an all time low of 53.40.
Tour operators said Indians tended to make part payments while booking vacations, and the currency fluctuation was pinching their wallets.
"Budget travellers are cutting down on sight-seeing or replacing a five-star dinner with a meal at a regular eatery," said Subhash Motwani, director, Compact Travels.
Failing to read the fine print while booking holidays can also put budgets in trouble, especially when the market is volatile, claim travel industry sources. "Most tour operators don't bear the difference in currency value. But people fail to read the fine print," said Ajay Prakash, president, Travel Agents Federation of India.
Even those who make full payments in advance, end up spending beyond their budgets on shopping, food and local transport.
The rupee depreciation has had little impact on big budget holidays, claim agents. "We largely cater to high-end travellers. They do not get perturbed by such small differences," said Lalit Seth, managing director, Raj Travels.
Industry sources said incentive tours organised by corporate houses are the worst affected. "Even a small difference in the Rupee value makes their budgets shoot up significantly since they cater to groups of hundreds. Therefore they end up cutting corners on the quality of the tours," added Motwani.