The U.S. Travel Association intends to “spark a national discussion” on why American workers fail to use all their paid vacation days, via a series of research reports to be released over the next year.
The initiative, called Travel Effect, is based on research by Oxford Economics that found Americans failed to use 429 million days of earned leave last year — 3.2 days per worker.
The unused days cost the U.S. economy $160 billion in spending that could support 1.2 million jobs in multiple industries, ranging from retail to manufacturing to transportation, according to Oxford Economics.
“This is an issue that goes well beyond the travel industry,” said U.S. Travel CEO Roger Dow. “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.”
U.S. Travel’s strategy includes engaging other industries (e.g. automotive, energy and retail) on the topic of unused vacation time and a media campaign to announce research findings.
“The effort is the first of its kind for the travel industry and aims to achieve nothing short of a cultural shift among American workers and employers,” U.S. Travel said.