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Indians are vacation-deprived, Japan tops list

Last updated on: December 2, 2011 09:42 IST

Indians are vacation-deprived, Japan tops list

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BS Reporter in New Delhi

Indians are the fifth most 'vacation-deprived' in the world. A recent survey conducted by online travel firm, Expedia, said that Indians get an average of 25 vacation days in a year, but one-fifth of these goes unused.

Expedia's vacation study polled employed people across 21 countries. It asked respondents to share the number of vacation days they take each year, what obstacles they face, where they prefer to holiday and how they behave when they are vacationing.

Maybe one can draw some consolation from the Japanese, who top the charts. The people of the East Asian nation avail only 5 vacation days out of the 11available a year. Korea, another country from the same region, is in the second position. Its citizens take 7 out of a possible 10 days' vacation.

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"In India, vacations tend to be viewed as a guilty habit," notes Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head of Expedia India. "As many as 54 per cent Indians spend vacations usually secretly checking emails. One can assume that the days not availed are spent working in offices."

Most people in India, the survey suggests, would rather encash their unused holidays than take a vacation. There is also a section that is unable to plan a holiday the right way. Reason: workplace commitments. They end up being vacation deprived or deferring it to a later date.

"Delhi employees are the most fretful of their bosses' disapproval on taking vacations," notes the survey. "Most workers across the APAC region and Europe, including 28 per cent Indians, said their bosses weren't supportive of them taking vacations."

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The people taking the most vacations are Europeans. Even Brazilians with almost the same number of holidays, as Indians enjoy each day of their vacation, treating it more as an expectation than a luxury unlike Indians.

American respondents earned 14 vacation days and used 86 per cent of them.

As for destinations, Indians prefer relaxed beach vacations over other destinations. Globally, beach vacations are king, the survey said.

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Europeans lead the world in vacationing. On the whole, European workers enjoy considerably more vacation time, as measured by days given and days taken, than their peers elsewhere.

The average employed European earns 25-30 vacation days in a given year, and, with some exceptions, tends to use them all. Brazilians treat vacation as the Europeans do -- as a vital part of being employed, rather than a luxury.

The study showed that Brazilian workers receive 30 vacation days and enjoy every one of them.

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Americans treat vacation as a luxury rather than a fact of life. Americans receive roughly half the Europeans' allotment of vacation time.

In 2011, employed Americans earned 14 vacation days and took 12, a decrease from 2010.

The median number of vacation days US workers earned in 2010 was 15 days; the number taken was 12. In comparison, the French earned 30 vacation days, and took all 30 in 2011. In 2010, the average French worker used all but one of their vacation days.

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Photographs: Nacho Doce/Reuters
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American vacation habits are more like Asians' than Europeans'. Asia represents the most vacation-deprived region in the 2011 Vacation Deprivation study.

Japanese workers trailed the field, taking a mere five vacation days out of 11 available, while South Korean respondents enjoyed seven out of a possible ten days of vacation.

Last year, Japanese workers left six vacation days on the table, trailing only the Italians. Italian respondents reported that they left seven vacation days unused in the past year, more than any other nation, though Italians are not precisely vacation-deprived, having 28 days at their disposal.

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Money and planning are the most commonly-cited reasons for not taking vacation. Overall, 22 per cent of respondents said they believed they could not afford it, and 20 per cent said "lack of planning."

The US leads the world in money worries: 1 out of 3 Americans say that they can't afford vacation. However, almost 50 per cent of US workers describe their financial situation as "solid" or "good," which reinforces the notion that Americans view vacation as a luxury.

Brazilian respondents, on the other hand, were least likely to see money as a vacation impediment (6 per cent). Brazilians chose "lack of planning" as their top reason.

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The world's least supportive bosses work in Italy and South Korea. Most workers reported that their bosses are largely supportive of vacation - Americans find that 73 per cent of their bosses are supportive.

The reverse was true in Italy (56 per cent boss disapproval) and South Korea (52 per cent) where respondents were most likely to believe management frowns on employee vacations or were unsure.

Work/life balance seems to be most prevalent in northern Europe, with Norway and Sweden boasting the highest boss-approval percentages (88 per cent and 82 per cent, respectively.)

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The study also reveals that most vacationers find it difficult to disconnect from work. The Danish find it easiest - only one in seven respondents from Denmark report that they check email and voicemail regularly while on break, with more than 50 per cent refusing to check in even once.

Americans, too, prefer to disconnect when on vacation, with only 25 per cent checking in regularly, and 75 per cent checking in sometimes or never.

More than 50 per cent of French, Japanese, Indian and Italian workers remain tightly connected to the office while on vacation.



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