Good news! Indians pack their bags as 'cheaper' Europe beckons post terror attacks
Travelling to and within Europe has become 10%+ cheaper post terror attacks, financial woes coupled with a lean travel season.
“The volatility and currency fluctuations in Europe have certainly led to a fall in travel related costs like hotels, flights, etc. In recent times, travelling to and within Europe has become 10 per cent + cheaper. This implies that one can expect an increase in the number of travellers from India to EU nations in the days to come,” said Ranjeet Oak, chief business officer, holidays at MakeMyTrip, India’s biggest travel portal.
The travel portal, for instance, is offering a week in Amsterdam and Paris for Rs 52,990, barring air tickets, while a week in Italy costs Rs 53,990, its website showed.
Peter Kerkar, founder of travel company Cox & Kings, said there has been a softening of hotel tariffs in locations such as Brussels. The company owns hybrid hotel operator Meininger which operates 16 properties in Europe.
“The pound is down by about 11 per cent , so there’s definitely a proportionate advantage for travellers to destinations in the UK,” said Vishal Suri, managing director of travel company SOTC.
Terror attacks and unrest have shaken Europe since late last year, raising doubts among global travellers about the safety of travelling to the region which has the most popular holiday destinations in the world.
Hundreds of people were killed in a series of explosions in Paris in November 2015. In March this year, explosions at Brussels airports and a metro rail station claimed several lives.
Last week, a terrorist drove a 19-tonne truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille day in Nice, France. He also fired at civilians. In Istanbul, Turkey, more than 200 people were killed and more than a thousand wounded in fighting after rebel troops sealed off bridges surrounding the city's airport and stationed tanks outside the presidential palace.
Separately, a decision by the UK to leave the European Union has sent the pound crashing. It has also exposed chinks in the EU’s weakening financial armour, such as Italian banks saddled with bad loans. But the Indian traveller is likely to ignore safety concerns as long as he gets a good deal for his travel package, said travel company executives.
“Europe continues to have a favoured destination status amongst Indians and while we did receive some queries and requests from customers to defer their dates of travel, we had zero cancellations,” said Rajeev Kale, Thomas Cook’s country head for leisure travel.
His views were shared by Manoj Samuel, executive director of Riya Travels, one of India’s biggest offline travel agents. “The recent dynamics in the European market has interestingly benefitted travellers as they will now gain additional benefits on the same quantum of spends, courtesy the currency movements,” said Kale, adding that he is looking at a 26 per cent surge in outbound bookings for August-September. “If your rate is attractive enough, people will overcome their fears and travel,” said Kerkar, adding that in terms of outbound travel, this is Cox & Kings’ ‘best year’ since 2002.