U.S. Travel Initiative Urges American Workforce to Take A Vacation
In a new campaign, the U.S. Travel Association hopes to change the public perception of vacation time and draw attention to the drain that an overworked workforce puts on the economy and personal well-being.
The phrase “use it or lose it” is one American workers are all too familiar with, especially when it refers to their vacation days.
In 2013, they left a combined 429 million paid-time-off days on the table, or about 3.2 days per worker, according to a new study conducted by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association (USTA). Further, the study found that the unused leave cost the economy more than $160 billion.
“Despite the myriad benefits of taking time off, American workers succumb to various pressures—some self-imposed and some from management—to not take the time off to which they are entitled,” Adam Sacks, president of the tourism economics division of Oxford Economics, said in a statement. Other recent studies have reported similar findings.
Those pressures and other perceptions about taking a break from work are the target of a first-of-its-kind, multi-year initiative unveiled last week by USTA.
“This is an issue that goes well beyond the travel industry,” USTA President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “A growing body of evidence shows that when we fail to take the time off we have earned, we are less productive and creative at work, we put stress on our relationships, and we undermine our personal health and well-being. Our initiative is simple and straightforward: Americans aren’t using all the days off they are entitled to, and we have to change that.”
The campaign will involve a series of partnerships that stretch beyond the travel industry—including the automotive, retail, and energy industries—and enlist experts and other opinion leaders, USTA said. The group plans to conduct research that will identify the benefits of taking time off to mental and physical health, education, careers, relationships, and healthy aging. It will also employ a multimedia campaign that includes a website, an expanded social media presence, and the use of video:
This campaign “marks the start of a long-term strategy to transform public perceptions so that personal time off is understood as a business investment, an economic necessity, and a path to stronger families and better personal health,” Dow said. “We’re excited by the opportunity to engage other industries in this important cause. It’s time we begin to understand that taking the time off we have earned is essential if we are to maintain our country’s high levels of productivity and innovation.”