Vacation Equality Project

Roger Lohr,

Aug 07, 2014

A recent Washington Post editorial commented about the President heading off on vacation to take 15 days with his family, and the US Congress and their staffers leaving work for their August recess.  But of all the world’s advanced economies, the US is one of the few that has no national vacation policy…while American workers have 577 million unused vacation days annually.

Weekends might often be called “workends” as people sleep with their smartphones and take work along on their vacations. Twenty years ago, 80% of families visiting Yosemite National Park stayed overnight and today the average visit is 5 hours. According to the US Travel Association, in 1975 family vacations lasted one week and by 2010 they were down to 3.8 days.

The travel and tourism industry has launched the Vacation Equality Project, planning advertisements and petitions as it pushes the Congress to pass legislation to mandate a guaranteed minimum amount of paid vacation. There is research citing the value of taking vacation that shows improved attitude and productivity after the relaxation, which is also known as “restoration.” Society can be happier and healthier if workers would just take more and longer vacations. And we should not forget about the lasting memories that vacations bring to build family bonds.

Yes, it might be too much to expect that the restorative nature of vacation will prod the politicians to return to work after the summer and deliver something called leadership on the many dangling issues. From the perspective of the travel-oriented industry, we can only hope that the Vacation Equality Project encourages millions of people to take a trip.


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