Travel agents say there has been a rise in the number of international travellers. Popular destinations include Europe, USA, Turkey, Bali, Philippines, Mauritius and Australia

If you’re planning to travel abroad, now is the time to book your tickets.

With the rupee appreciating — at around Rs. 60 to the dollar on Tuesday as against Rs. 68 or so in July-August last year — travel agents say there has been a rise in the number of international travellers.

Sharat Dhall, president of Yatra.com, says, last year, many people put off travelling abroad, but now that the rupee is strengthening, several international destinations are back in demand.

“We are expecting this sector to do even better, later this year,” he says.

This year, international bookings from Chennai have gone up by 20 per cent, compared to last year, says Jaitender Paul Singh, senior vice-president at Thomas Cook.

“We are hoping the rupee becomes stronger in the coming months, fuelling additional outbound travel,” he says.

Sheela Anand, city resident and chief operating officer of TTK Healthcare, says she and her family just got back from a two-week vacation in Europe, covering Switzerland, Italy and France. “Rupee strengthening and the price of the Euro dropping by Rs. 4 definitely helped,” she says.

“When I went to Paris earlier this year, the rupee was Rs. 89 to a Euro, now it is just about Rs. 81,” says another city resident.

According to a survey of 4,000 respondents Yatra.com conducted last month, 89 per cent are considering international travel, thanks to the rupee’s appreciation, and 78 per cent said they had been holding back international holiday plans last year due to the depreciation.

A similar survey last year had revealed, while 63 per cent of travellers were considering trips despite the falling rupee, 42 per cent said they would prefer to travel within the country.

This year, popular destinations include Europe, USA, Turkey, Bali, Philippines, Mauritius and Australia, say agents.

“Bali, for instance, has rapidly grown in popularity, especially with honeymooning couples and groups of friends,” says Charanya Ramesh, CEO of city-based Shakthi Tours and Travels.

“Last year, people were travelling to less-expensive destinations. Now, high-end destinations are being considered, and travellers are willing to spend a little more on a relaxed holiday,” she says.

For those in Chennai, favourite destinations, besides Singapore, Thailand, Dubai and Sri Lanka, include Seychelles, Oman, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam, says Mr. Singh, adding the demand for group tours to Europe from Chennai have surpassed those for travel to the Far East.

However, many Chennaiites still prefer Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong due to attractive air fares and also because the rupee goes a long way in these markets, says Rajesh Magow, CEO-India, MakeMyTrip.

Maldives too is a hot favourite he says, adding, “Overall, we are seeing a healthy growth in international holiday bookings.”

More In: Chennai | Society