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Indians upbeat on foreign tours despite terror attacks

July 19, 2016 08:55 IST

Indian tourists are increasingly settling for other destinations such as Southeast Asian countries, Australia, and New Zealand.

Recent terror attacks and political turmoil in France and Turkey would hardly have any significant effect in the growth of outbound travel sector, claimed leading tour operators.

Bookings for foreign tours in August and September were up 26 per cent, year-on-year, said Rajeev Kale, president and country head (leisure travel), Thomas Cook. The demand in June and July was also strong.

Recent terror attacks in France and Belgium, depreciating rupee and introduction of biometrics in British visas had not had an adverse effect in appetite for foreign travel.

Senior executives of Cox & Kings, another tour operator, shared the sentiment.

“We don’t see any negative impact on growth. Overall, the India business has grown in net revenue terms by about 15 per cent for several years and we see no reason why the growth cannot continue. We remain positive on outbound travel,” said Anil Khandelwal, chief financial officer, Cox & Kings. 

He added there would be no pressure on profit margins in the current financial year.

Outbound business contributes about 70 per cent of Cox & Kings’s standalone revenue and 40 per cent of Thomas Cook’s business.

Thomas Cook said there was no cancellation for European tours, while Cox & Kings said in the last six months, there was a significant number of customers travelling to France.

Other tour operators and travel assistance portals had a slightly different experience.

Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com, said after the terrors attacks in Paris earlier this year there was a marginal drop in bookings.

Following the Nice attack last week, there was a reduction in queries for European destinations.

“Indian tourists are increasingly settling for other destinations such as Southeast Asian countries, Australia, and New Zealand,” he said.  With peak travel season for European tours coming to an end, tour operators expect demand for other short-haul and long-haul destinations such as Southeast Asia, Dubai, and Australia and New Zealand increasing.

“As far as potential military coups are concerned, we have seen in the case of the Thai military coup a few years ago. There was no significant impact on tourism. Countries that have tourism as a large proportion of their GDP will continue to ensure that the sector stays in good health,” Khandelwal said.

Nishant Kashikar, country manager (India and Gulf) at Tourism Australia said as tourists no one would like to travel to disturbed areas.

“Australia is one of the safest tourist destinations. All conditions strongly favour a sustained growth of Indian visitors to Australia.”

Aneesh Phadnis & Ajay Modi in Mumbai/New Delhi
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