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Jan 03, 2008 at 01:19pm IST

No dollars please, India tells tourists

New Delhi: After international supermodels, it’s the Indian Tourism Ministry. It says India does not want to be paid in dollars anymore and is now telling tourists to pay in rupees to visit any monument or heritage site.

Most entrance fees for tourists visiting India's famous monuments were set when the dollar was worth Rs 50. But these days, a dollar fetches only Rs 39.

Not only is the rupee stronger versus the dollar, says the Minister for Tourism, it's also much more convenient.

“Before the dollar lost its value, there was a demand to have it just in rupees. Now, this was also rationalising the ticket because the dollar was weaker against the rupee,” says Tourism Minister Ambika Soni.

It's not just entry tickets that are getting pricier.

“It's about shopping, it’s about eating, it’s about entertainment. So wherever there were countries that worked in dollar denomination, today when they come to India, they find the whole package is more expensive than it was before,” Himmat K Anand of Kuoni Destination Management.

Visitors who normally choose top-end hotels, says Anand, are now booking slightly cheaper ones as most hotels too have stopped accepting dollar rates.

This could put off few tourists, but the tourism minister isn't worried.

“I always say its not numbers I am looking for or working for. I am working for tourists to have a complete experience,” she says.