Rupee fuels domestic tourism boomhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/rupee-fuels-domestic-tourism-boom/

Rupee fuels domestic tourism boom

The sliding rupee has made local hotspots favoured destinations for Indian tourists.

With the sliding rupee making overseas travel 15-30 per cent costlier,local hotspots have become favoured destinations for most Indian tourists this holiday season.

As the domestic currency oscillated between 52 to 56 against the US dollar over the past month,the volatility forced Indian tourists to either postpone their vacation overseas or choose less costly domestic destinations.

In some cases,people have shortened their foreign trips,travel experts said.

A broad cross-section of tourists are bearing the brunt of the falling rupee as they made travel plans well in advance.

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“Last one month’s trend show a flat or small growth in outbound tourism. The demand has not really taken off considering this is the peak season.

“(Travel plans to) Europe and the US have been impacted the most compared to South East Asian destinations,” travel portal Ixigo.com CEO Aloke Bajpai said.

Going by estimates,an Indian tourist on an average has to now shell out 10-20 per cent more for trips to South East Asian destinations like Thailand,Malaysia and Singapore. In the case of European nations and the US,costs have escalated 25-30 per cent due to rupee volatility.

Travel website Expedia India Marketing head Manmeet Ahluwalia said the change in behavioural pattern,due to rupee fall,is basically seen among the lower and the middle class of Indians.

“They have either postponed their travel plans or are choosing destinations within India. Places like Kerala,Goa and Rajasthan are popular. Domestic 20-25 per cent shift is seen,” he noted.

As per trends observed by Expedia,domestic travel bookings have seen 20-25 per cent rise especially since those who plan vacation on tight budgets are doing extensive research to figure out the best possible and less-costly holiday destination.

Many of those choosing domestic hotspots such as Kerala and Rajasthan are preferring richer experience in terms of facilities.

“Indians who have shifted to spending holiday within the country have upgraded their travel for richer experience… So Indians are booking five star hotels and resorts where they can enjoy the luxury and leisure for the same budget they had decided to do spend on foreign trip,” Ahluwalia said.

Many travel websites including Expedia India and MakeMytrip are offering good discounts for hotel bookings.

MakeMyTrip Chief Business Officer Mohit Gupta said that international holiday packages provide the best-value deals.

“Travellers could either opt for better clubbed deals or look at short-haul destinations instead of long-haul ones to optimise their holiday budgets.

“We expect that short-haul destinations in South-East Asia such as Thailand,Singapore and Bali will see increased bookings due to the great value they provide,” Gupta added.

Meanwhile,an overall picture on the impact of falling rupee on travel industry would be clear only after a few months,feel experts.

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“While the depreciation of the rupee has dampened the overall growth in the category,the full impact of the currency fluctuation will not be evident immediately because most people plan and book their holidays well in advance,” Gupta pointed out.