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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Dollars no longer accepted at Taj Mahal... Wow. Good going US. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Freak Prodigy
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Dollars no longer accepted at Taj Mahal Thu Jan 3, 10:40 AM ET

NEW DELHI - In yet another troubling sign for the greenback, at least one of the seven wonders of the world is now off limits if you have only U.S. currency in your pocket.

India's tourism minister said Thursday that the dollar will no longer be accepted at the Taj Mahal and other national tourist sites.

For years tourists visiting most sites in India were charged either $5, or 250 rupees.

After falling 11 percent in 2007, hitting nine-year lows to hoover around 39 rupees, the dollar is out.

Charging only rupees now seems more practical and will save tourists money because "the dollar was weaker against the rupee," Tourism Minister Ambika Soni told the CNN-IBN news channel.

"Before the dollar lost its value, there was a demand to have (admission tickets) just in rupees," he added.

The Taj Mahal, India's famed white marble monument to love, began refusing dollars in November.

It means just one more place where American tourists will have to shell out more money — now nearly $20.

And it's likely to get worse in booming India.

"We expect a slight appreciation of the rupee to continue, although it won't be as dramatic as last year," said Agam Gupta, head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered Bank in India.

The dollar has fallen against most major currencies, and it has lost ground against the rupee due to an influx of foreign capital, said Gupta.

The dollar hit record lows of $1.4967 against the euro on Nov. 23, the weakest since that currency began trading in 1999, and was down against almost every major currency Thursday.
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MagicSanta
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Would you like a lecture on currency flunctuation and how to utilize it for business purposes?

What idiot would go to India and not carry rupees?
Jerrine
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Quote:
On 2008-01-06 14:10, MagicSanta wrote:
Would you like a lecture on currency flunctuation and how to utilize it for business purposes?

What idiot would go to India and not carry rupees?


I thought we weren't supposed to discuss idiots.
Cliffg37
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I have always wondered what kind of idiot are there? For years people have been asking me, "what kind of idiot are you?"
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Freak Prodigy
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Quote:
On 2008-01-06 14:10, MagicSanta wrote:
Would you like a lecture on currency flunctuation and how to utilize it for business purposes?

What idiot would go to India and not carry rupees?


I know, but that's not the point.


The point is the fact that our money isn't worth what it used to be.
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MagicSanta
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Of course not! It started in the 90s when the last bit of US manufacturing was allowed to leave the US. Combine that with NAFTA and thar ya go....we became an importing nation rather than an exporting one.
LobowolfXXX
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On 2008-01-06 13:52, Freak Prodigy wrote:
Dollars no longer accepted at Taj Mahal Thu Jan 3, 10:40 AM ET

NEW DELHI - In yet another troubling sign for the greenback, at least one of the seven wonders of the world is now off limits if you have only U.S. currency in your pocket.

India's tourism minister said Thursday that the dollar will no longer be accepted at the Taj Mahal and other national tourist sites.

For years tourists visiting most sites in India were charged either $5, or 250 rupees.

After falling 11 percent in 2007, hitting nine-year lows to hoover around 39 rupees, the dollar is out.

Charging only rupees now seems more practical and will save tourists money because "the dollar was weaker against the rupee," Tourism Minister Ambika Soni told the CNN-IBN news channel.

"Before the dollar lost its value, there was a demand to have (admission tickets) just in rupees," he added.

The Taj Mahal, India's famed white marble monument to love, began refusing dollars in November.

It means just one more place where American tourists will have to shell out more money — now nearly $20.

And it's likely to get worse in booming India.

"We expect a slight appreciation of the rupee to continue, although it won't be as dramatic as last year," said Agam Gupta, head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered Bank in India.

The dollar has fallen against most major currencies, and it has lost ground against the rupee due to an influx of foreign capital, said Gupta.

The dollar hit record lows of $1.4967 against the euro on Nov. 23, the weakest since that currency began trading in 1999, and was down against almost every major currency Thursday.


How is this going to cost Americans $20, if it's 250 rupees and you can get 39 of them for a dollar? Sounds like just barely over $6. The comment that there was a demand to have ticket sales only rupees prior to the decline of the dollar also indicates that the decision has little reflection on the value of the dollar.

What's the logical connection between a decline in the value of the dollar and the choice of whether or not to accept dollars? If the going rate was either 250 rupees or 5 dollars, and you made a decision based on the declining value of the dollar, wouldn't the obvious decision be to make the price 250 rupees or 6 dollars? Sounds like a non-story to me. BTW, we don't take rupees at any hot American tourist spots, either.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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abc
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The story is 100% correct as far as not wanting to accept currency fluctuations and having to continuously adjust the price.
The decision makes perfect sense as far as it is not necessary for any country to accept the US dollar. They have their own currency and travelers from all over the world should accept that.
People shouldn't read too much into this. Contrary to what I have heard it has nothing to do with people not liking Americans or growing tired of the US foreign policy. It is purely a business decision. They should not have accepted foreign currency of any sort in the first place.
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My Taj Mahal doesn't even take credit cards, never mind Dollars!

There massala is to die for though.
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Two more detailed versions of the story are available here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7098370.stm

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=2......UifSh7pg

For one thing, it's not just the Taj Mahal that is affected.

Of course, many tourist sites (museums, heritage sites, etc.) around the world routinely accept foreign currencies as a convenience to tourists, when tourists are a significant part of their business. In that sense it is a little surprising that the 'nearly 120 sites of interest run by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)' won't accept USD anymore.

Anyway, the decline of the USD is an interesting story in its own right.

Supposedly, Gisele Bundchen, the world's richest model, is insisting that she be paid in almost any currency but the U.S. dollar:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=2......fer=home

(though one of her agents later backtracked on this story).

And Rapper Jay-Z is also 'dissing' the USD in favour of the Euro:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7097736.stm
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MagicSanta
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Thank goodness countries around the world still accept US dollars by the billions. We are such ***s here in the states.
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2008-01-07 00:07, abc wrote:
The story is 100% correct as far as not wanting to accept currency fluctuations and having to continuously adjust the price.
The decision makes perfect sense as far as it is not necessary for any country to accept the US dollar. They have their own currency and travelers from all over the world should accept that.
People shouldn't read too much into this. Contrary to what I have heard it has nothing to do with people not liking Americans or growing tired of the US foreign policy. It is purely a business decision. They should not have accepted foreign currency of any sort in the first place.




The decision doesn't make "perfect" sense, because, presumably, they had their own currency when they made the original decision to accept foreign currencies. In fact, it's a rather simple additional profit center to simply accept foreign currencies at a greater-than-market rate.

The initial post, attributing the decision to a devalued dollar, makes very little sense to me for two reasons --

1. Even within the quoted text, it plainly states that there was demand to charge admission only in rupees PRIOR to the dollar's devaluation

2. Assuming that they had a reason to accept dollars in the first place, a change in the value of those dollars provides no reason to discontinue the practice; you'd just charge more.

If you sold hamburgers for a dollar apiece and took all US currency, then the Treasury Department announced that dimes were now worth only 5 cents each, you wouldn't stop accepting dimes; you'd simply require someone paying you in dimes to give you 20 of them rather than 10.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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LobowolfXXX
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The initial post also claims that the move will cost tourists more money and quotes the tourism minister as saying that it will cost tourists more money.

Not only are both positions inconsistent, neither really makes any sense; it will INHERENTLY neither cost nor save tourists money. The issue is whether the pricing differential at the tourists sites compared favorably, unfavorably, or neutrally with the exchange rates available to tourists. There's no rational significant difference between spending dollars at the Taj Mahal and spending dollars at an Indian bank to buy rupees and then spending those rupees at the Taj Mahal, other than a slight administrative inconvenience to the people at the Taj Mahal who could (and presumably would) simply charge a premium for saving tourists the hassle. It's pretty much the same in principle as many casinos' accepting each other's chips in Vegas.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
MagicSanta
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Ahhh, it is just another shot at the US and the all that...nothing new.
balducci
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The original post appears to be a cut and pasted shortened version of an Associated Press story.

Due to careless editing on the part of the people wherever it was cut and pasted from, it reads badly.

For one thing, a quick reading makes it sound as though admission to the Taj Mahal is 250 Rupees. Although, if you read the story VERY, VERY carefully, you will see that it does NOT actually say that. (It says MOST sites cost 250 Rupees. Then it says that the Taj Mahal costs nearly 20 USD. This is not a contradiction, because the Taj Mahal is simply not one of those sites charging 250 Rupees. Because it is one of the main attractions in India, it charges more than most.)

Below is the longer version of the story, which makes it clear that the admission to the Taj Mahal is actually 750 Rupees (or nearly 20 USD as reported in the original post).

---


U.S. dollars no longer welcome at India tourist sites

The Associated Press

January 3, 2008 at 6:26 AM EST

NEW DELHI — No dollars, just rupees please.

In a sign of how the once mighty U.S. dollar has fallen, India's tourism minister said Thursday that U.S. dollars will no longer be accepted at the country's heritage tourist sites, like the famed Taj Mahal.

For years the dollar was worth about 50 rupees and tourists visiting most sites in India were charged either $5 or 250 rupees.

But with the dollar at a nine-year low against the rupee — falling 11 per cent in 2007 alone and now hovering at around 39 rupees — that deal has become a losing proposition for the tourism industry.

The country's tourism minister said, though, that the decision was only in part a reaction to the currency's plunging value.

“Before the dollar lost its value, there was a demand to have (admission tickets) just in rupees,” Tourism Minister Ambika Soni told the CNN-IBN news channel.

Ms. Soni said that charging only rupees would not only be more practical, but would save money because “the dollar was weaker against the rupee.”

The Taj Mahal, India's famed white marble monument to love, which had charged tourists $15 (U.S.) or 750 rupees, has been refusing to accept dollars since November.

The move makes visits pricier for American tourists, who now have to shell out nearly $20.

And it's likely to get worse.

“We expect a slight appreciation of the rupee to continue, although it won't be as dramatic as last year,” said Agam Gupta, head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered Bank in India.

The U.S. dollar has fallen against most major currencies, and it has lost ground against the rupee due to an influx of foreign capital into India, said Gupta.

Ms. Soni said she was not worried about the decision affecting tourism numbers as India provided more than just budget attractions.

“I always say it's not numbers I am looking for or working for. I am working for tourists to have a complete experience,” she said.
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I don't know if it's a shot at the US. It is interesting that US currency has routinely been accepted around the world, while most others have not been. It may just be a sign of the times that more and more places are insisting on local currency.

As a side note, it has been very odd here in Canada. Normally, as the USD changes value relative to world currencies, the CAD has pretty much tracked it (at 70-80% value). During the past year or so, the CAD has become detached from the USD and is relatively more valuable than it has been in 40 years. I have no idea why.


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I don't know, I've been all around the world (I've avoided certain countries, Cambodia, Iran, Canada, North Korea) and we always changed our money into local currency with two major exceptions. One exception was Panama, the other was Liberia. Panama because they always used US currency and Liberia because, as you all know, was a settlement of sorts set up by the US in the 1800s when former slaves were returned to Africa. I don't believe they use any other currency there but US, I could be wrong...I don't recall.

The reason most of the countries I went to didn't take US dollars was it was too easy to pass counterfiets on 'em and having their own currency was better for 'em. Of course I didn't go to your regular tourist places. Oh well, y'all keep pushing for the evil US to sign treaties like the green house ones and more manufacturing will leave the US and soon we will be prime to become a third world manufacturing location and everyone will be happy in the world. I advise Americans to avoid spreading their worthless money to other countries, spread it here this Summer, it will be better for you and the Euros and Canadians and Indians will be much happier not having your lowly currency corrupting their prestine bounding economies.
balducci
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Of course everyone should almost always expect to use local currency in a foreign country.

But the article we are talking about is talking about tourist sites and, as I said before, many tourist sites (museums, heritage sites, etc.) around the world routinely accept at least some foreign currencies as a convenience to tourists, when tourists are a significant part of their business. We're not talking about street vendors or average shopkeepers in India here.

Anyway, I hope LobowolfXXX sees my earlier post as it explained some of the apparent inconsistencies he noted in the original article.

Quote:
On 2008-01-07 10:39, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
1. I don't know if it's a shot at the US. It is interesting that US currency has routinely been accepted around the world, while most others have not been. It may just be a sign of the times that more and more places are insisting on local currency.

2. As a side note, it has been very odd here in Canada. Normally, as the USD changes value relative to world currencies, the CAD has pretty much tracked it (at 70-80% value). During the past year or so, the CAD has become detached from the USD and is relatively more valuable than it has been in 40 years. I have no idea why.

1. It's clearly NOT a shot at the US. The only people who seriously think that are the usual folk who claim that everyone is 'anti-American' every chance they get. The USD used to be the reserve currency of choice around the world. It still is, but just less so than in the past as China and the Eurozone have come on strong in recent years.

2. The answer is two parts. The US dollar is declining in value for a number of reasons, some of which are mentioned in the Bloomberg article I posted earlier. And the sub-prime crisis in the States is really hitting the US economy and US dollar. OTOH, the CDN dollar is increasing in value as the Canadian economy is very strong, and the Canadian dollar is more of a resource / energy based currency than is the USD. And, right now, the resource / energy story is hot given the boom in China and India.

When you say that the CDN dollar has generally tracked the USD at 70-80% of its value, you need to give some time reference. That was only true for a relatively short period of time. In my lifetime, I've seen the CDN fall from above parity with the USD to a low of 0.61 USD or so, and then back up. These ups and down happen. But for the foreseeable future, I think the USD is going to trend downwards even further.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
LobowolfXXX
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I did catch it, Balducci, and thanks for elaborating on the article and catching my rather sloppy read re: the prices. The inconsistencies I noted were not aimed at the article, but rather the conjunction of the article and the initial post. It will not both cost tourists more and less to discontinue accepting dollars; one of those positions came from the article, and the other from the post commenting on the article.

It should be fairly obvious that if multiple currencies are being accepted, one should keep an eye out for large disparities in the exchange rate. Apparently, that hadn't been done. So tourists paying in deflated dollars were getting a discount, and now, everyone will be paying the same rate, which is perfectly reasonable. It also would have been reasonable to simply increase the dollar price while keeping the rupee price fixed.

I have no contention whatsoever with the decision made; it's a business decision, and it's their business. My contention was with the attribution of the decision to the devaluing American dollar, which is not, to my reading of the article, justified (and is in fact partially contradicted by the statement that there was a demand for single-currency pricing before the dollar even began deflating).

All of which is to say, there's no particular reason to connect a devaluing dollar to the choice that was made to no longer accept the dollar, and in fact, it would be quite simple to allow for the devaluation of the dollar WITHOUT discontinuing its acceptance -- just charge more in dollars.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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balducci
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Quote:
On 2008-01-07 16:19, LobowolfXXX wrote:

All of which is to say, there's no particular reason to connect a devaluing dollar to the choice that was made to no longer accept the dollar, and in fact, it would be quite simple to allow for the devaluation of the dollar WITHOUT discontinuing its acceptance -- just charge more in dollars.

I'm sure the average person in India is perfectly nice, as nice as citizens of any other country, but I've also been led to believe that theft and corruption is still fairly common over there. There is also a problem with literacy in India (only about 61% of adults are literate).

So the only thing I can figure is that perhaps the people taking the admission fees cannot all be trusted to charge the correct amount in USD, and that they might cheat (intentionally or not) tourists in the conversion. Especially if dollars were being accepted based on the current conversion rates.

And it might be difficult, especially at tourist sites in some of the rural areas with especially large uneducated populations, to get the current conversion rates instituted quickly.

My first point would explain why they originally had fixed USD prices.

My second point, given the current volatility and devaluation of the USD, might explain why they are now doing away with fixed USD prices. They cannot effectively update it cquickly enough to keep it current.

Of course, they could just make the USD admission fee much higher than the Rupee fee, in order to provide a cushion. But maybe they just don't like that idea (besides, if they did that people would accuse them of price gouging).
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
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