India‚Äôs US$40 billion business travel market is expected to remain unfazed even though there has been a steep depreciation of the Indian rupee.
‚ÄúIndia is the fastest growing business travel market in the world. I think that the rupee depreciation offers an opportunity to Indian companies, as services and products from India will become cheaper and this can be an accelerator for businesses,‚ÄĚ said Gaurav Sundaram, regional director of GBTA India, on the sidelines of the GBTA Conference 2018 in New Delhi that took place on September 14.
In 2018, the Indian rupee has performed the worst, with a depreciation of 13 per cent in value this year. It dropped more than a percentage point to 72.6 a dollar on September 17, in spite of India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley announcing a plan to lower the country’s current account deficit, stressing the falling rupee must be dealt with immediately.
However, Sundaram shared: “India is the seventh largest global business travel market and it will continue to be the fastest growing at 12 per cent year-on-year.”
Harvinder Singh, country manager, India, United Airlines & director, United Airlines Business Services, added: ‚ÄúThe corporate travel business is growing year-on-year above 10 per cent which is excellent. We have not seen any impact of rupee depreciation at this point of time.”
“Overall the industry sentiment remains positive with business travel witnessing a double digit growth,” Arnab Mukherjee, vice president – sales, JTB India, remarked.
On their part, Indian corporates are looking at managing their travels within a budget instead of cutting down on the amount of travel. This is for companies where travel is an essential part of its growth strategy.
Geetha Arekal, head ‚Äď mobility services supply chain management, Siemens, shared: ‚ÄúIndian corporates are now doing an analysis on how they should spend on travel. (For example), whether they should stay away from city hotels to save cost.”
She added that while previously managers had the freedom to decide on trips to go on, with the tightening of budgets they are taking a step back to see if the travel is required or not. However, as travel is part of business strategy and management plans, Geetha opined that “business travel will continue to grow strongly”.