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Friday October 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday October 18, 2013 MYT 7:21:59 AM
A WEAK Indian rupee and a new tax imposed on television sets that are brought home from overseas have dampened the enthusiasm of Indian tourists to travel to Singapore.
Tourist guides and travel agents said that their revenue derived from these tourists has declined across all tiers of the market, by as much as 80% compared to six months ago.
Luxury Tours and Travel, which focuses on the mid- to high-end tourist market, used to pull in an average of 3,000 Indian tourists to Singapore each month. This has fallen to 2,000, said its director Michael Lee.
The Indian market now makes up 28% of the travel agency’s sales, down from 38%.
“Singapore’s currency is very strong and the rupee is very weak. We are becoming less competitive for the Indian market,” Lee said. The Indian rupee has fallen considerably against the Singapore dollar in the past six months.
Further hurting the pockets of Indian tourists who regularly fly to Singapore to buy electronic goods was the imposition in August, by the Indian authorities, of a 36% duty on flat-screen televisions that travellers bring back from other countries.
According to media reports, Singapore is not the only country being shunned by travellers.
Indian tourists are choosing to travel domestically, take shorter trips or opt for cheaper Asian destinations like Thailand.
On the other hand, outbound travel agencies here are seeing a surge in the number of Singaporeans heading to India.
At ASA Holidays, bookings from Singaporeans for travel to India next month and in December have jumped 20 % from a year earlier. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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