Andheri resident Durgesh Karande gave up his plans of a US vacation after he was convinced he could go on two foreign holidays to places closer home at less that what it would cost to travel to the West.
With a budget of less than Rs 1.2 lakh, the management student went on a weeklong trip to Thailand in April and has booked a similar vacation to Sri Lanka next month. “As the airfare to the US alone costs close to Rs 80,000, I thought visiting two different countries made sense,” said the 22-year-old.
Many budget travellers from the city are opting for destinations such as Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka where the cost of travel hasn’t increased over the depreciating Indian rupee, said travel agents. Value of the US dollar has increased by 18% in the last year.
As a result, these countries witnessed a significant growth in tourists from India this year compared to last year. For instance, Indian tourist arrivals in Bhutan between April and May this year increased to 230 from 64 in 2011.
Sri Lanka catered to 41,165 Indians between February and April this year, up from 38,395 visitors in the summer. “This quarter, destinations such as Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines, and Vietnam contributed a 40% growth from the Indian outbound travel,” said Sunil Hasija, senior vice president, TUI India, a travel company.
Even destinations such as South Africa that are expensive as compared to places in the sub-continent have fared well this summer. “We are not sure if the increase is solely owing to the depreciating value of the Indian rupee but the rising value of the US dollar must have made travellers cautious,” said Hanneli Slabber, country manager, South African Tourism, India.