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Holiday abroad at 15% less

October 04, 2004 13:30 IST

Leading tour operators in the country led by Cox & Kings and SOTC are offering holiday packages to Europe, the Far East, southeast Asia and Mauritius that are 10-15 per cent cheaper that those offered last winter.

Said Sanjay Subraidu, vice-president, Cox & Kings, "For the customised traveller --- those who want to decide independently on travel by air --- we have added value to the packages and in some cases also managed to reduce prices."

"We have priced our travel packages more competitively this year. We had anticipated the surge in demand and accordingly negotiated with airlines and hotels overseas well in advance," said Frederick Divecha, senior vice president (marketing) at SOTC.

Cox & Kings has cut the price of its four-night/five-day package to Mauritius from $236 per person to $200. The deal excludes airfare but throws in accommodation, breakfast, dinner and sightseeing.

The price of a five-night/six-day Far East package, including Malaysia and Singapore, has been reduced from Rs 38,400 to Rs 29,900.

This includes return airfare, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as per itinerary, taxes, Mediclaim and visas.

A Singapore package without airfare costs $99 for two-nights and three days while that for Thailand is $99 per person for five days and four nights, basic accommodation, breakfast, sight seeing and travel insurance included.

SOTC's 13-day Far East package now includes Hong Kong (the normal package covers Bangkok, Pattaya, Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands and Singapore). A 10-day Europe tour now costs Rs 49,900 against a 15-day tour for around Rs 78,500 last year.

One reason why travel packages were becoming cheaper, said a travel agent, was that Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand had realised that travel to India had become attractive and was, therefore, a threat to their tourism industry. They have cut prices to counter the Indian threat.

But before writing out cheques to your travel agents, read the fine print, warn industry operators. "It may look cheaper but passengers may have to sacrifice quality or may have to shell out extra because of hidden costs," said Om Prakash, director, Orbit Travels:

Rumi Dutta in Mumbai