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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

What rupee fall has done for tourism in India, and other south-east Asian destinations

This holiday season, tourist hotspots such as Phuket, Bali, Singapore, Istanbul and South Africa are emerging as the preferred foreign destinations for Indians due to a heavily depreciated rupee, according to four companies in the travel booking business.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2018 08:19 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
There is also an increase in domestic travel by Indians, and more foreigners are expected to come to India than in previous years, the companies added. After all, a dollar can now take them that much further in the country now.
There is also an increase in domestic travel by Indians, and more foreigners are expected to come to India than in previous years, the companies added. After all, a dollar can now take them that much further in the country now. (Picture for representation)
         

This holiday season, tourist hotspots such as Phuket, Bali, Singapore, Istanbul and South Africa are emerging as the preferred foreign destinations for Indians due to a heavily depreciated rupee, according to four companies in the travel booking business.

There is also an increase in domestic travel by Indians, and more foreigners are expected to come to India than in previous years, the companies added. After all, a dollar can now take them that much further in the country now.

Thomas Cook says its domestic packages have recorded a 16% increase this Dussehra break, with destinations such as Goa, Ooty-Kodaikanal, Pondicherry, and the Andamans being the key drivers of business.

Ixigo says that, among foreign destinations, trips to Turkey, South Africa, and Egypt — whose currencies have also devalued to some extent — are in heavy demand, as opposed to countries in Europe and the Americas.

“A depreciating rupee creates a fillip to the domestic travel opportunity, and with the current Dussehra break, our India packages have recorded significant growth. India is emerging as an attractive tourist destination and the fall in rupee will catalyse inbound travel,” said Rajeev Kale, president, country head of the leisure travel at Thomas Cook (India).

In two months, the rupee has gone from 69.04 to the US dollar on August 11 to 73.89 against the US dollar on Thursday — a fall of over 7% — and the trend continues to show no signs of abating.

A depreciating rupee tends to steer strong demand for short-haul favourites such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong-Macau and emerging destinations such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

“Though the rupee’s depreciation makes travel expensive, we have seen a gradual shift in travel trends due to the devaluation of the rupee this year... We have witnessed an 8% growth in flight searches for Colombo, with a 6% reduction in flight fares. We also saw a 7% growth in flight searches for Phuket with a 23% drop in flight fares,” said Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, Ixigo.

SOTC’s Daniel D’souza, however, says that the rupee’s depreciation has not made much of an impact as travel plans are usually made 1-2 months in advance. “Given the festive season, marginal increase/decrease in travel cost doesn’t have much impact on travel decisions, especially among travel savvy Indians from metros and mini-metros.

First Published: Oct 13, 2018 08:03 IST