Footloose Amdavadis need no prodding where travel is concerned. Always on the hunt for excuses to go traipsing around the globe, Janmashtami provides these revellers the best ruse — travelling with gambler’s luck.
However, unlike the festivals till now, this time, travel operators in the city are finding it a bit difficult to convince customers to take a pot shot on casino counters like Las Vegas an all-time favourite the blame squarely sitting on the sliding rupee.
“Traffic for hot destinations like Las Vegas, Macao and Dubai has remained average, unlike for Goa, which has gone higher than the usual, as more people are opting for domestic destinations due to inflation,” said Manish Sharma, MD of a travel company in the city.
Sharma said most of the Janmashtami bookings happen two months in prior and the depreciation of the rupee has not affected those travellers, who booked their tickets then.
“However, because of soaring airfares, sales have gone about five to 10% low this month in international markets,” he conceded.
As Goa is the only place in India with a legal casino, the rush has been predictably high, agrees another city tour operator, Laxmikant Bhatt. “Gujaratis like to go out for gambling around Janmashtami. That is why special Janmashtami packages with various gambling destinations domestic and foreign are designed for such revellers.
But, this year, bookings in the month of August have been low on international front. Regular Amdavadi travellers are seen going more for Goa,” he said, adding that depreciation or not, the footloose Saurashtra deep pockets still go ahead with their travel plans to Bangkok, Macao, Dubai and more.
Agreeing to the dip in demand for destinations like Las Vegas, another city-based travel operator, Darshan Patel, said that there has been almost 20% cut in far abroad destinations. “This Janmashtami, Gujaratis are seen opting more for closer home destinations like Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and even within the country destinations like Goa,” he said.
Sanjeev Chhajjer, VP of a travel company, however, disagrees. He says the Janmashtami gamblers are deep-pocket revellers on whom inflation has scant effect.
“From gambling point of view, tourists particularly from Saurashtra and Rajkot travel mostly towards destinations like Macao, Las Vegas, Dubai and more. People who gamble have loads of money and they can afford to lose some chunk; so why would any inflation affect them?”