The Indian rupee taking a hit against the US dollar in the past week raised concerns of foreign vacations becoming dearer, especially to America or Europe, but travel operators said the fluctuation in global currencies means holidaying at certain popular international destinations could actually become cheaper.
Reason: While the rupee has slipped, currencies of countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Turkey, among others have suffered more than the Indian currency.
While the rupee has fallen 8% in value since June 30, 2014, the Malaysian ringgit fell 22%; Thai baht 9%; Singapore dollar 11%; Australian dollar by 22%; Turkish lira by 27%; and South African rand 17%.
“The market fluctuation will have little or no impact on international travel plans for Indians as currencies of major outbound destinations from India have depreciated higher versus the US dollar, making them more economical for Indian travellers,” said Neelu Singh director and chief executive officer of Ezeego1.com, a travel portal.
“As of today, Indian rupee (INR) has depreciated 8% versus the US dollar. But at the same time, the Canadian dollar (CAD) has depreciated 19% against the US dollar. So, 1 CAD, which was INR 55.18 a year back, is now INR 50.41. It thus works out cheaper for Indian travelers,” said Singh.
Manmeet Aluwalia, marketing head, Expedia (India), said Indian travellers have also found different ways to curtailing their holiday budgets rather than cancel plans. “Our recent Expedia Holiday Activity Report showed if the dollar got expensive, Indian travelers wouldn’t cancel bookings. Instead, they would adopt different measures to maintain their holiday budget; 63% said they would cut down on shopping; 38% would look at shifting to a more affordable destination; 32% would avoid places of interest that are ticketed; 32% would downgrade hotel-star category; and 25% would reduce duration of the holiday,” said Aluwalia.
He also sounded optimistic about the rupee recovering with the festive season five to six weeks away.
Frequent travellers also felt that since foreign vacations entail long-term planning, currency fluctuations do not cause too much damage. “Going for an international holiday is a well-thought of decision for most people and often bookings are done well in advance. Moreover, people these days have dedicated savings for travel. They account for scenarios such as these, which have become commonplace now, and always have a buffer,” said Neha Deshpande, a frequent traveller, who works for an NGO in Mumbai.