NEW DELHI – The falling rupee may have hit the budget of Indian tourists. But on the flip side, leisure travellers from abroad are evincing more interest in India as hotel stay has become cheaper, say tourism industry officials.
India has suddenly become a widely searched topic on the web for its tourist destinations, with most mid-level travellers, who would earlier come in the discounted off-season, now enquiring about expensive hotels.
In comparison, the fall in the rupee has forced outbound Indian tourist to search vigorously on the web for even smallest discounts in order to stay within the budget.
“Because of the falling rupee — the interest in Indian destinations has risen. We have seen more searches done for India from Southeast Asian countries and London,” Jackson Fernandez, travel search engine Wego’s general manager for India, told IANS.
In comparison, the outbound Indian traveller has begun to search more for cheaper flights and different categories of hotels.
Indian tourists are now “tending to move to different spectrum of rates”.
“Instead of higher value stay, they are making adjustments. Where earlier they would choose to stay at the centre of the city, which would be expensive, they are moving to other places for a better price,” said Fernandez.
Sanjay Bhasin, managing director of Goibibo, says with the falling rupee, “India has suddenly become more attractive”. Bhasin said the tourism market had been hit by a 25% hike in air fares as well hotel rates compared to last year.
However, the inbound mid-level traveller is now checking rates and trying for early booking for the peak season of October-February.
The rupee fall has led to a drop in outbound tourist traffic by close to 12%, said Bhasin.
“But incoming growth has started. Queries to Goibibo have gone up by 50% for religious tourism and for the main season period,” he said.
Queries have come for Bihar’s Bodh Gaya sector from Japan and southeast Asia, he said.