Rupee slump buzz kill for Indian tourists
Indian national Saurabh Saraogi was all set to make his inaugural trip to the United States during the Diwali holidays coming up in November.
But as the rupee began to crumble in recent months, the 27-year-old lawyer's plans to spend a few weeks traveling by rail and road from the east to the west coast became increasingly less affordable, prompting him to eventually put the plans on hold.
(Read more: Why the rupee may not be headed to 70)
"I got my visa at the end of last year, as I had planned to visit the U.S. and travel extensively across the country this year. But considering the fall in the rupee, I have postponed the plans. I'm waiting for the rupee to recover," Saraogi, who is based in Northeast India, said, adding that just a few months ago, his $200-a-day travel budget seemed manageable.
"This year, I may do a vacation somewhere close by in the region or within India," he added.
Saraogi is one of many Indians postponing overseas travel due to the slide in the rupee, which has pushed the price of accommodation, food and entertainment considerably higher. In just the last three months, the rupee has depreciated over 18 percent against the U.S. dollar.
According to the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), outbound travel may decline by around 15 percent this year, compared to 2012 amid weakness in the domestic currency. Approximately 15 million Indians traveled overseas last year.
Local travel agencies told CNBC that August has been a slow month for travel bookings as residents await stability in the currency.
"Travel inquiries have fallen about 50-60 percent this month compared to last year. There are very few bookings for the October-November holidays," said Deepak Melwani, director of Mumbai-based travel agency Prime Flyers.
For Delhi-resident Shivani Muthanna and her husband, who are currently vacationing in Southeast Asia, the slump in the rupee has put a major damper on their holiday.
(Read more: Are the stars not aligned for the rupee?)
What was meant to be a low-cost trip to Singapore and Vietnam, no longer feels cheap, she said. "We planned to shop in Singapore but that's not happening, everything feels much more expensive. It's really depressing."
Even their plans to purchase a flat-screen television in Singapore were scrapped after the government last week imposed a 36 percent import duty for travelers buying them overseas. "With the new duty that has been introduced, plus the fact that the rupee has gone down, it will work out to the same if we buy it in India," she said.
While the situation is adverse for outbound tourists, the slumping rupee is expected to boost the allure of India for inbound visitors.
(Read more: Calls get louder for India to free up currency)
Gour Kanjilal, executive director of IATO says there has been a surge in interest from Eastern European tourists as well as medical tourists in the region looking to come to India.
"Foreign tourists from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who want to do medical treatments in India are taking advantage of the weak rupee. They come on short notice because of the close proximity," he said.
As for tourists and business travelers currently visiting India, Kanjilal said some are opting to extend the stay to take advantage of the weak currency, which makes shopping and domestic travel significantly more affordable.
—By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani; Follow her on Twitter