A tourist sits in front of a mural at a flight of steps to a temple complex in Udaipur. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Rupee Depreciation Not A Dampener For Festive Travel, Says Yatra

Travel portal Yatra Online Inc. is seeing an uptick in demand and inquiries as the festive season kicks in, despite a sharp fall in the rupee.

Demand has been fairly normal for this time of the year in terms of airfare, Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer at Yatra, told BloombergQuint. “There hasn’t been any impact on the demand side.”

“Moreover, we have seen an uptick in demand even on the international packages front which was an area we felt may come under pressure because there has been an increase in prices to more popular destinations out of India,” he said.

While a sharp depreciation of the Indian currency led to expectations of higher footfall of international travelers into the country, there were concerns of local demand for travel being dampened by higher costs of air travel, foods and beverages. The rupee has fallen 13.11 percent in 2018 so far, making it Asia’s worst performing currency.

But the segment that travels is very mildly affected by these things, said Aman Nath, chairman of Neemrana Hotels. “We’re seeing 60-80 percent occupancy and that’s wonderful considering we aren’t business hotels,” he told BloombergQuint.

Another factor cementing festive demand is the plethora of option on the accommodation and budget airfare side, said Dhall. People are managing their budgets by going for a slightly lower cost hotel or by booking a holiday for fewer days than originally planned. “The destinations are really aspirational for people and they are very fixed on them.”

While it’s still early into the festive season, demand and inquiries are around 20 percent higher than last year, Dhall said.