The depreciating rupee cannot mar the spirits of the globe-trotting Amdavadi. So what if travel to US and Europe has become unaffordable? This year, for Diwali, it is Singapore, Bali, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa that have emerged as hot destinations for international travel. While the scenic beauty of these places is definitely an attraction, the overall economic situation and the rupee depreciation has helped tilt the balance in their favour.
“International travel has been slightly affected due to the sluggish economy. However, for those insistent on an international trip, New Zealand and Australia are favourites, particularly among honeymooners. Singapore, Bali and Dubai are the other hot destinations,” said Mahendra Vakharia, MD, Pathfinders, Ahmedabad. He said that part of the reason could be because there was not much fluctuation in the exchange rate of Australian and South African currencies vis-à-vis the Indian rupee.
“The currencies of these countries more or less remained stable and hence the travellers did not see the budget shooting up. Singapore and Bali are nearby and hence make economic sense for travellers. Even Dubai is among the preferred destinations,” he added.
Uttej Rao of JN Rao Tours agreed that Dubai, Singapore and Thailand are the options for travellers this season as they are relatively easy on the pocket. “There are also inquiries for Turkey and Russia, but mostly from people who are already well-travelled. Australia is another destination that has an advantage because the Australian dollar has more or less remained stable vis-à-vis the rupee,” said Rao.
He added that recent strengthening of the rupee will not be of much advantage to travellers because most of the Diwali vacation planning is done well in advance.
Tour operators are also witnessing trends of potential travellers canceling their plans due to the sluggish economy.
“Number of people opting to travel during Diwali vacations has decreased drastically,” said Jigna Hamali, general manager of Uniglobe Travels. According to her, there has been a decrease of 30% to 40% in number of travel bookings in the year 2013. She too credited the cheaper currencies of countries (compared to pounds and dollars) like Dubai and Singapore for the increased interest of travellers in these places.