Published on Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tourists in India caught in cash crisis

Tourists in India are facing a cash crisis after the government withdrew 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation as part of a crackdown on corruption.

Together, the two notes represent 86% of the country's currency in circulation and the government gave only four hours notice of their removal.

As a result, the move has led to long queues outside banks as people try to exchange their old notes for new 500 (£6) and 2,000 (£24) notes.

At the moment, people are only allowed to exchange up to 4,500 rupees (£48) each, meaning many tourists will be left holding currency they can't use.

The BBC reported that some ATMs were running out of cash, tourists arriving in Goa claimed there was no cash at the airport, and some banks have been forced to close.

Tourists have also been unable to buy goods and pay for services in local shops and restaurants that don't accept credit cards because they either don't have enough of the new notes or traders can't provide change.

In India, 90% of transactions are done in cash and some tourists are worried that they won't be able to pay bills at smaller hotels that don't take credit cards.

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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.