Pay in rupees, not dollars, govt tells foreign tourists

Pay in rupees, not dollars, govt tells foreign tourists

New Delhi: Indian authorities have ruled that tourists visiting the country’s monuments must pay at a fixed local rupee rate rather than in dollars to shore up revenues as the greenback falls against major currencies.

Entrance to many sites for foreign tourists in India is priced in dollars and then converted to rupees, meaning that authorities have been losing money this year as the dollar slid more than 12% against the local currency.

The Ministry of Culture said in a statement that the move was “to avoid any anomaly on account of falling exchange rates of US dollar vis-a-vis Rupee and consequent fall in revenues".

The government had fixed a $5 entrance fee for World Heritage sites like the Taj Mahal and $2 for other monuments at a time when the dollar was worth about Rs50.The dollar is now worth around Rs39.

The new rate for World Heritage Sites is fixed at Rs250, meaning a foreign tourist will pay the equivalent of about $6.50.

More than four million tourists visited India last year, bringing in around $6.6 billion in foreign exchange earnings.