Mumbai has lost the title of the most expensive city for an evening out. That dubious honour has been snatched by Kolkata, where it costs Rs 10,115 for two people to stay a night, have a pre-meal drink, dinner and a taxi ride.
This was the result of a survey carried out by travel website TripAdvisor in the third edition of its annual travel price index, TripIndex, which examines prices for travellers in major Indian cities. TripIndex tracks the cost for two travellers for one night’s accommodation, a pre-meal drink, dinner and a taxi ride in each city.
‘City of Joy’ Kolkata takes the top spot from Mumbai as the most expensive city this year with a total TripIndex cost of Rs 10,115, albeit by a marginal lead. Ahmedabad emerges as the most budget-friendly metro city, with a total TripIndex cost of Rs 6,406. A night out for two in Kolkata will be about one-and-a-half times more than Ahmedabad.
Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India, says, “TripIndex is a useful reference for travellers to plan their trip budgets. It helps them estimate how far their money will take them when travelling to any of the main metro cities in the country, whether for leisure or work.”
He adds that hotel room rates have seen a fall across all cities compared to last year, making the overall TripIndex cost more economical in all eight metros.
>> Hotel: With square feet at a premium in horizontally challenged Mumbai, it’s no wonder that the city has the highest average hotel room cost of Rs 7,580. Hotels in Pune are the cheapest to stay with an average hotel room cost of Rs 5,230, making Mumbai accommodation over 1.4 times the cost in Pune.
>> Taxi Ride: A 2km return taxi ride in Chennai can set you back by Rs 230 while the same distance in Mumbai is a meagre Rs 84.
>> Dinner: Travellers need to dish out 4.5 times the money for a dinner for two in New Delhi (Rs 2,767) as against a meal in Ahmedabad (Rs 593). Chennai is the city with the cheapest dinner cost for a comparable meal (where an alcoholic beverage cost is included in the meal).
>> Cocktail: Hyderabad is the most expensive city to grab a beer for two with a cost of Rs 380, compared to Delhi where a couple of brewskis cost Rs 310, the cheapest across all metros.
>> Hotel room rate prices have declined across the board in all cities with an average 17 per cent drop from last year. Chennai, which had the most expensive hotel room last year, saw the biggest fall of 27 per cent in room rate this year.
Mumbai, with the most expensive hotel room night this year at Rs 7,580 saw the least decrease in cost of only 5 per cent from TripIndex 2012 cost of Rs 8015. Chennai seems to be most expensive for a taxi ride, for two years in a row -- for a two-kilometre taxi ride (round trip) one has to shell out Rs 230 which was Rs 210 last year.
>> The TripIndex 2013 total costs have shown a decline across all cities with Chennai seeing the highest percentage of fall of 35 per cent from Rs 12,530 last year to Rs 8,122 this year.
>> This year, East leads as the most expensive region compared to the South last year with average TripIndex cost of (Rs 10,115), closely followed by North (Rs 9,728), South (Rs 8,449) and West (Rs 8,076). As for the hotel prices, the highest average hotel room rates are also in the East (Rs 7,146), followed by North (Rs 6,551), West (Rs 6,104) and South (Rs 5,780).
TripIndex prices the following items in each destination to represent the cost of a night out for two people:
>> A room for two at a four-star hotel
>> Beer for two at a mid-range restaurant
>> Dinner for two (two courses and a bottle of wine)
>> Return taxi transportation (two taxi journeys of 2km each)
Prices were collected through a variety of research methods as outlined below.
Hotels: Hotel prices shown specify the average nightly rate at a four-star hotel found on TripAdvisor (via partner booking sites such as online travel agencies and direct hotel suppliers) in each destination. (June 1 - August 31, 2013).
Cocktails for two: Beer prices specify the average cost of two pints of domestic beer from a mid-range restaurant in each destination. Alcohol is prohibited in Ahmedabad and not served in restaurants there, so the prices specify the average cost of two mocktails.
Dinner for two: Dinner prices specify the average cost of a traditional or common meal at a mid-range restaurant in each destination, including an appetizer, a vegetarian main course with a side dish shareable by two people with a bottle of domestic white wine. Alcohol is not served in restaurants in Ahmedabad so the prices specify the average cost of two mocktails instead of a bottle of wine for dinner.
Return taxi trip: Taxi prices identify the approximate cost of two 2-km taxi rides (representing round-trip transportation). Data was taken from local authorities, recognized taxi companies and/or destination travel experts. All prices shown exclude taxes and service fees except for destinations.