DESPITE the ailing ringgit, travel agencies in Malaysia are predicting that outbound travel to India in 4Q2015 will not be affected.
As of today the ringgit has depreciated to 3.8 against the US dollar from 3.6 six months ago, bumping up ground prices for Malaysian outbound travellers.
KG Krishna, managing director of Ganesh Travel Agencies, said: “People who want to travel will still travel. November and December have always been a peak travel season to India and this year will be no different. With the weakened ringgit, what we have seen is early booking patterns, as travellers aim to get better airfares.”
Based on bookings received by Ganesh Travel, South India and the Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, are popular destinations.
Nanda Kumar, managing director of Hidden Asia Travel & Tours, said the bulk of bookings received are for South India, mainly for pilgrimage tours, the backwaters of Kerala, and Ayurvedic treatments.
“We have gotten a number of bookings from Malaysians of non-Indian origins for visits to Kerala. It is still early days, and we expect to see a lot more bookings coming in from August,” said Kumar.
Similarly, Grandlotus Travel Agencies’s outbound manager Ananthi Sengalaneyi said demand received so far is mainly for South India, mainly Cochin, Chennai and Trichy.
“Ground prices may have increased by 15 to 20 per cent due to currency exchange, but this has not deterred those who have made plans to travel to India.”
The relative ease of getting a visa for travel to India has also helped fuel demand for the destination.
K Thangavelu, country manager of India Visa Centre, said there are now nine India visa centres in the country, from three prior to June 2014.
He added: “This makes it very convenient for Malaysians to apply for visa to India. We have visa centres in every state except for Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.”