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Dollar deflates, rupee rises to occasion
- Foreign trips gain momentum despite Thai coup cloud

An appreciating rupee against the dollar has made foreign shores within bounds.

As of Friday, $1 fetched Rs 58.35. The rupee had not surged to such a high level against the US dollar since July 17, 2013, when it stood at 57.87.

It had hit a record low of Rs 68.83 in August 2013. This suggests there has been an appreciation of nearly 16 per cent in the value of the Indian currency against the US dollar over the past nine months.

A strong rupee means whenever someone buys something in dollars, he or she has to shell out less. For instance, if one were travelling to New York — the most popular destination in the US — one would have to pay less not only for travel but also for lodging and boarding.

However, those planning to visit Thailand for the summer vacation should postpone their plans as the martial law in Thailand has played spoilsport at the Southeast Asia tourist hotspot. Many revellers from Patna are cancelling their plans after Thailand army, earlier this week, seized control of the government amid a coup.

Alok Kumar, the director at city-based ConnectIndia, said one of his clients cancelled his two-day honeymoon trip to Bangkok on Friday.

“He had booked a package of four days in Samui (an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand) and two days in Bangkok. However, he cancelled his Bangkok stay on Friday because of the turmoil. Most of our clients, who had booked packages for the Thai capital, are cancelling their plans after the martial law was imposed,” said Alok.

Thailand’s army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, on Thursday afternoon seized control of the government in a coup, declared after rival factions were unable to come up with a suitable agreement to govern, two days after he had declared martial law.

Travel operators even in Delhi claimed that the tourist flow to Bangkok has reduced. “The turmoil in Bangkok has been going on since December 2013 and it has turned worse after the military took over the government earlier this week. It is very bad news for tour operators in India as this is the peak season for Thai tourism,” said Anuj Kumar, the managing director of Magadh Travels and Tours Private Limited, based in New Delhi.

Though a visit to Thailand would not be a good option for Patna residents, it is still an ideal time for them to visit other foreign countries because of the strong rupee.

The rupee has recovered against the pound to Rs 98.25 from Rs 106.83 on August 29, 2013. It rose to Rs 79.46 per euro from Rs 91.74 on the same day. The rupee firmed up to Rs 57 per 100 Japanese yen from Rs 67.7 on the same day.

Alok, the director of ConnectIndia, said: “After a long time the cost for tour packages to European countries like Switzerland, Amsterdam and Paris is likely to come down the Rs 1-lakh mark. As of now, the eight-nights-and-nine-days package for the European countries would cost Rs 1,30,000 but we are expecting the booking cost for the next season (September-October) to come down to around Rs 95,000-Rs 1,00,000,” said Alok.