TOURISM MATTERS: All work and no pay
A RECENT SURVEY released through the United States Travel Association (USTA) and conducted by Oxford Economics concluded that last year American workers walked away from US$52.4 billion in unused vacation time, forfeiting a total of 169 million paid days off.
The amount of vacation time American’s take as a nation is currently at a 40-year low. USTA stated as recently as 2000 the average US worker took roughly 20 vacation days a year. By last year, that had fallen to 16 days, adding that “for most workers, wages and income have stagnated since the recession”, which perhaps gives an insight.
In a related TIME article, the findings of another survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for the job and salary site Glassdoor, says Americans only take about half the time off they are entitled to, and 15 per cent of workers who get a vacation don’t take any of it.
But should we deduce that economics is the sole reason? Absolutely not! Questioning people who take vacations only to work through them (which about six in ten workers do), a third of respondents said they do so because nobody else can do their job and about 20 per cent said they do so in the hopes of getting promoted.
Does this belief have any credibility? Again, apparently not, as the USTA survey revealed that in fact people who forgo between 11 and 15 days vacation are actually 6.6 per cent less likely to get a raise or bonus than colleagues who take all their vacation.
Other reasons given are that respondents were “very” or “extremely” stressed at work, or in the words of USTA president and chief executive officer Roger Dow: “America’s work martyrs aren’t more successful”, and “all work and no play is not going to get you ahead, it only gives you more stress”.
Clearly, an organisation that represents more than 2 000 tourism member partners, both corporate and individuals, has a vested interest in ensuring the populace takes as many holidays as possible. But is there some way we can better leverage this vast number of potential travellers who currently abstain from or dramatically reduce quality rest and re-invigoration time?
From September 7 until November 14, American Airlines and US Airways reduce their mileage to 25 000 miles return from many cities which service Barbados, requiring one or more connections.
A planned trip to Louisville in Kentucky will actually cost me US$60 in taxes and needing only a single overnight hotel stay in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As I have mentioned so many times before, as a destination we dismally fail to take advantage of these windows of opportunity and what is perhaps so surprising is they often occur during a time of the year when we clearly need the business.
The merged airlines now have well over 100 million frequent flyer members and it’s difficult to understand why we see incapable of mounting a small campaign to attract even a tiny percentage of this vast number of people who already have the means to reach us.