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Indian travel freaks turn to lenders

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Desire to visit exotic spots, expensive tickets seen as reasons; loans offered from ₹50,000 to ₹7.5 lakh

Indians are increasingly using debt to finance travel, according to travel portals and lending platforms.

“There are two perspectives on this, quantitative and qualitative,” Veetika Deoras, COO, Digital Business at Tata Capital told The Hindu. “Looking at the qualitative, there is an increasing trend one is seeing where people are open to borrowing for experiential elements like travel.” According to Qbera.com, an online lending platform, on an average, people in the age group of 27-40 years are the ones availing loans for travel purposes.

“India is travelling like never before,” said Balu Ramachandran, head of air and distribution, Cleartrip.

Weekend getaways

“The trend for sporting weekend getaways has also shown a sharp increase in 2017 over 2016 with marked changes for cities like Delhi from 7% to 18% and Kolkata from 3% to 7%,” Mr. Ramachandran added.

“We offer loans from ₹50,000 to ₹7.5 lakh and these loans are virtually agnostic to the end use, but we do ask the borrowers to self-report what the end use is,” Aditya Kumar, founder and CEO, Qbera.com said in an interview. “What we have noticed is that a significant portion of our borrowers — about 15%-20% — are coming to us to take loans for travel purposes.” “These are typically ₹1.5-₹2 lakh on an average,” Mr. Kumar added. “We don’t gather data on international or domestic travel, but with that kind of ticket sizes, the presumption is that this would likely be for international travel.” People opting for loans for travel could be because of increasing ticket prices and access to more exotic destinations.

“The average ticket price has increased by 3% for domestic overall,” Mr. Ramachandran said. “Within domestic destinations, we see that the air bookings to the North-East have gone up from 5% in 2016 to 9% in 2017. We see that people are increasingly heading towards North East backed by the increasing supply of flights to the region.” While the prices of international tickets have more or less remained the same over last year, those to the U.S. and Europe — two of the most favoured destinations for Indians — have increased by 8% and 6% respectively, according to Cleartrip.


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