Time ripe for foreign tourists

Time ripe for foreign tourists

Time ripe for foreign tourists

With the rupee continuing its free fall, these are not the brightest of days, especially for students studying abroad and those who have plans of holidaying abroad. 

On the other hand, the tourism sector can’t stop smiling about the prospect of foreign tourists coming to the City. With the holiday season around the corner, the industry is expecting quite a boom. 

“The rupee depreciation has brought ‘Incredible India’ into the spotlight like never before,” informs Surinder Singh Sodhi, senior VP and head, leisure travel (inbound), Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. 

“Bangalore is popular among international tourists as the gateway to South Indian destinations because of its superior infrastructure and high-tech international airport. It sees traffic from both free independent travellers and group travellers who are fascinated with Indian history, customs, religion as well as wildlife.”

Sodhi also informs there has been an overall increase of seven to 10 per cent in queries for travel to India with great focus on packages for Bangalore and Karnataka.

The depreciation of rupee has also turned out to be a shot in the arm for foreign tourists with their domestic travel, stay and shopping working out cheaper. If the fall continues, their tribe is only going to increase.

Ashwin Narayanan, COO, Travel Tours Group, adds, “The depreciation of rupee helps in an increase in inbound tourists. We use this as our USP to pitch to our customers and partners abroad. However, the effect may not be seen immediately.”

“In the West too, the economy is not all hunky dory. Europe is still suffering from recession. And if the depreciation of the rupee continues, it will have a spin-off in a couple of months, if not immediately. The tourists will start coming here from October. As for the corporate travellers, their visits depend on whether they have business here or not. But with rupee falling, there is a definite interest in having meetings and conventions here. It can be an incentive,” he adds. 

The City with its salubrious weather has always been a haven for foreign tourists. Many of them also use it as an entry point to visit places of tourist interest in the State. Karan Anand, head-relationships, Cox & Kings Ltd, points out that there would be an increase of foreign tourists to Bangalore during the festive season.“Bangalore is used more as a gateway city to places like Coorg, to see the wildlife in Kabini, Bandipore National Park and Nagarhole. Many of them travel to Mysore, which is famous for its palace, museum, lakes and gardens,” he says.

“International tourists also arrive in Bangalore enroute to the temple town of Hampi, which is a UNESCO site. Tourists, who come to Karnataka, stay for a minimum of six nights and they are keen to visit historical places and wildlife. We promote Karnataka in a big way and a sizeable segment of our tourists come from overseas.

Bangalore is more of a business and IT hub and it attracts a large number of corporate travellers and businessmen,” he adds. The weak rupee is also about to bring in a boom in domestic travel. Those who have planned trips abroad are thinking twice about it and are now planning to visit exotic places in the country itself. 

With festival season at the doorstep, the City has much to offer the foreign tourists and the travel and hospitality industry is looking forward to it.

 “The Dasara festival is one of the main attractions in Karnataka with fairs and festivals everywhere. The extravaganza of celebration and splendour has been highlighted among our foreign tour operators through various campaigns. Significant interest is being seen in some of the traditional source markets like the UK and the USA,” informs Sodhi.    

At a time when travelling in India, especially for women, is looked at with a little bit of concern by the West, the 

weak rupee has changed all that. In the coming months, the inbound tourists could tell a different tale. As Ashwin adds, “My job is to push as many foreign tourists into India. But we have to wait and watch.”