Undeterred by rupee decline, Indians continue to holiday abroad

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SummaryThe sliding rupee has not deterred Indians from holidaying abroad

The sliding rupee may have hurt most of the sectors but has not deterred Indians from holidaying abroad, although they are preferring short haul destinations, according to travel firms. Major players in the segment, Thomas Cook India, Cox & Kings and travel portal MakeMyTrip, said there has not been any significant decline in outbound tourist traffic from India this summer despite concerns of rupee depreciation against the dollar.

"With swings in the rupee, customers have begun weighing all possible options and, our analysis indicates that even the most price sensitive segments will continue to travel, albeit with a shift to short haul destinations," Thomas Cook (India) Managing Director Madhavan Menon told PTI. Online travel firm MakeMyTrip also said despite the recent concerns due to currency depreciation, the company has not seen a decline since packages for the summer holiday season are usually booked in advance.

"We have not seen a de-growth since packages for the summer holiday season are usually booked in advance. In fact, we continue to witness growth in both domestic and international travel," MakeMyTrip Chief Executive Officer Deep Kalra said. Another major player in the travel segment, Cox & Kings said, although there are short-term issues due to rupee depreciation, the concerns are mostly exaggerated.

"Close to 60 per cent of our India revenues come from outbound travel. We are very optimistic about this segment," Cox & Kings Ltd Director Peter Kerkar told PTI, adding that the company expects outbound travel to grow in double digits for the next 10 years at least. Industry players, however, said the declining rupee has in a way resulted in a shift in the choice of holiday locations. "The preferred destinations this summer season appear to be the Far East, including Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Sri Lanka and Mauritius," Menon of Thomas Cook India said.

Customers of the company are also going to new emerging and viable options like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Philippines, he added. The other upside of the depreciating rupee is that it has brought domestic travel into the spotlight like never before, Menon said. "India has re-emerged as a viable option, and certainly a trend that we at Thomas Cook India are leveraging via our attractively priced domestic portfolio- Kashmir, Andamans, Kerala, Goa, and Rajasthan," he added. The rupee has declined by about 9 per cent in the past three months and had touched an all time low of 61.21 to

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