Rupee fuels domestic tourism boom


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.

"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 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.

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