A recent survey revealed that approximately 52% of respondents planned to vacation at a beach in the next 12 months, but vacation time in the U.S. is valued quite differently than in other parts of the world.
Last year, 55% of American workers only used a fraction of their vacation time. In total, 658 million vacation days were left unused. That comes to a total of $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits. The massive loss in benefits prompted a national effort in order to encourage Americans to plan their vacations early in the year.
The initiative was called National Plan for a Vacation Day, and it took place on January 21, 2017. Organizers of this event are aiming to help Americans declare all of their vacations for the remainder of the year.
Research by Project Time Off, a U.S. Travel Association initiative, revealed that if Americans used all of their vacation time in 2015, an additional $223 billion in spending would have occurred in the U.S. economy. Arizona alone would have seen a $1.5 billion boost in their travel economy.
Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, explained that tourism is one of the biggest industries in Arizona. She added that every wasted vacation day is “a missed economic opportunity for our state.”
Project Time Off found that vacation has benefits in the workplace go beyond an individual level. In fact, the research initiative found that approximately 89% of managers agree that vacation can improve employee morale and efficiency in the workplace. In addition, they found that vacation time helps prevent employee burnout. The majority of managers found that their employees came back from vacation with a greater drive, focus, and creative mindsets.
Many factors can influence a person’s choice of whether or not to take vacation time. Among the most influential are job security, working in an uncertain economy, and a lack of internal support from other employees. But if Arizona succeeds in convincing more workers to take vacation, it may mark a turning point in the way America looks at vacation time.