Demonetisation: Foreign tourists hit hard
The process of changing currency is more difficult for tourists.mumbai Updated: Nov 29, 2016 12:25 IST
Even after 20 days of the ban on high-denomination currency imposed by the Prime Minister, tourists were a part of the serpentine queues outside Mumbai ATMs and banks.
Foreigners and tourists coming to Mumbai are facing a tough time due to the demonetisation row, but are more concerned about the local citizens.
“We will be staying here only for some weeks. But it’s the citizens I am worried about who wait for hours on a daily basis,” said Bianca Patrizia Ronayne, a South African tourist waiting outside a Colaba bank. “But the country is taking such a big step, so we should not look the horse in the mouth,” she added.
The process of changing currency is more difficult for tourists, explains Ronayne. “We have to first stand in a queue to ask our bank to convert dollars or pounds into rupees, which is always the highest currencies. Then we have to stand in another line to convert those high denomination notes into new ones.”
“I am in the country for over three weeks and only had notes of high denominations. I had no choice but to wait for six hours the next day in a bank to exchange Rs 2,500,” said Leigh Cuen, an American tourist who has taken to austerity measures to save for her Goa trip next weekend.
Cuen, who waited outside a Fort bank ATM, added that her father called his Indian friend in Delhi and sought help. “That Indian guy called his friend in Mumbai who lent me some legal money to make petty purchases and pay for my hotel and food,” she adds.
Foreigners who had planned their holidays in advance were caught unaware after the sudden ban on high currency notes.
Manon Regnier, a Frenchwoman, had come down all the way for her Indian teacher’s wedding. “It was embarrassing for me to ask for money from the wedding family since my exchange was done in high denominations,” she said, adding, “But I gauged that probably some revolutionary change was going on in the country.” Manon was waiting outside a Yes Bank branch in Colaba.
Another tourist from Germany was also surprised to hear about the currency ban. “I just came to India and two days later I hear people saying highest currencies are banned. My next destination is Goa and I heard people say one can even exchange old notes into new ones,” said 22-year-old Julius Reuter, who waited next to a closed ATM in Nariman Point.