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Study Thai’s are most likely to cancel or postpone a vacation due to work globally

(from left): Dr. Sakita Moungmaithong, Clinical Instructor in Maternal-Foetal Medicine and TV host of ‘The Dr. Oz by Siriraj’ show; Taya Rogers, Actress, Model and VJ; Simon Fiquet, General Manager of Southeast Asia and India

Vacation deprivation is on the rise across the globe, with 53 percent of full-time working adults globally feeling vacation-deprived in 2017, an increase from 49 percent in 2016.

BANGKOK –, today released findings from the 2017 edition of the Vacation Deprivation Study, an annual survey that looks at the vacation habits of more than 15,000 working adults across 30 countries globally. Incorporating insights from 300 full-time working adults in Thailand, the study revealed that 81 percent of Thais agree that they deserve more vacation days than they are given, ranking them fifth highest in Asia to express that, after South Korean (88 percent), Hong Kong (86 percent), Taiwan (84 percent) and India (81 percent). The 2017 study also revealed that 76 percent of Thais spend their time at work dreaming about vacations.

Simon Fiquet, General Manager of Southeast Asia and India said: “Every year, Expedia Vacation Deprivation study looks at vacation habits across several different continents. While habits differ, the emotional impact of vacation does not. Somewhere between 80 to 90 percent of people worldwide say that vacations make them feel happier, better rested, closer to their family, less stressed and more relaxed. These are all emotions that correlate to a productive employee”.

Vacation deprivation on the rise across the globe, Asia-Pacific leads the pack

According to the study, vacation deprivation is on the rise across the globe, with 53 percent of full-time working adults globally feeling vacation-deprived in 2017, an increase from 49 percent in 2016. However, when compared against the Americas and Europe, Asia Pacific leads the pack as the most vacation-deprived region, with South Korea topping the list as the most vacation-deprived country with 81 percent of full-time working adults feeling deprived of vacations.

Figure 1. Percentage of full-time working adults who feel most and least vacation-deprived in 30 markets globally

Thai employers supportive of vacations, but employees still take less than given amount of annual leave

Diving deeper into the reasons behind the feeling of vacation deprivation among Thai workers, the study revealed that almost half (51 percent) of full-time workers in Thailand take fewer days of annual leave than the amount they receive – for reasons that did not stem from the lack of support from their employers.

In fact, 55 percent Thais agree that their employers are supportive of them going on vacations, yet on average, employees in Thais take 8 days of annual leave a year, less than the 10 days of annual leave they receive on average. This was largely the result of:

  • Employees’ desire to save their leave in case something comes up in the future (45 percent)
  • Employees’ work schedules do not allow for vacation / insufficient resources to cover the work (37 percent)
  • Difficulty in coordinating time to take a vacation that works with family / partner / friend (30 percent)
  • Employees’ desire to carry their leave over to the next year for a longer vacation (30 percent)

Causes of vacation deprivation

across the professions are vacation deprived, some for lack of money and others because they cannot take time off work.

A third of workers around the world take fewer days than they receive, similar to levels seen in 2016. Asians are much more likely to leave days on the table – with Japanese (65 percent), Malaysian (63 percent) and Indian (55 percent) workers the most likely to take less days than they received. Many of these workers said they are simply too busy at work to take all of the vacation days they were allotted – which is the case for large majorities of South Korean (70 percent), Indian (64 percent) and Japanese (62 percent) workers.

The professions most vacation deprived are:

  • Marketing & Media at 66 percent
  • Food & Beverage at 62%
  • Education at 47 percent
  • Government at 49 percent

Among those who cannot afford a holiday are:

  • Agriculture at 52 percent
  • Marketing & Media at 45 percent
  • Food & Beverage at 41 percent
  • Retail at 40 percent
  • Education at 37 percent

The profession that report to be unable to take time off from work is Finance & Legal at 39 percent.

Vacation time is just what the doctor ordered

Vacations have numerous professional and emotional benefits, with two-thirds saying they come back more relaxed around the world. Those in developing countries are also highly likely to say vacations make them more productive at work – including large numbers of Brazilians (70 percent), Indians (66 percent) and Emiratis (60 percent).

A better attitude also results for many, particularly in Mexico (64 percent), Argentina (62 percent), the US (60 percent), and India (59 percent). Half of global travelers also feel rejuvenated, with higher numbers citing this benefit in Asia – led by Thais (66 percent), Indians (65 percent) and Taiwanese (64 percent).

Workers in Asia are more likely to think a “mental health day” should count as vacation, including strong majorities of Taiwanese (80 percent), South Koreans (77 percent) and Thais (73 percent).

Commenting on the health and well-being benefits of taking a holiday, Dr. Sakita Moungmaithong, Clinical Instructor in Maternal-Foetal Medicine and TV host of ‘The Dr. Oz by Siriraj’ show, shared: “There are lots of medical research that shows that not only are vacations good for you, but they may also increase productivity, meaning they’re good for the workplace and for your career as well. The Vacation Deprivation study conducted by Expedia is evident that Thai workers tend to sacrifice their holiday plans for career progression. This should be reversed, and employers should start cultivating and practicing work-life balance options, to create a committed and healthy workforce.”

Hooked on technology

Unfortunately, as the world becomes more digitally focused, people are checking in on work via email or voicemail more often while on vacation, with 27 percent checking in at least once a day in 2017, up from 24 percent in 2016.

Those most likely to check in on work at least every day when on vacations include:

  • Taiwanese (48 percent)
  • Indians (39 percent)
  • Brazilians (36 percent)
  • Dutch (36 percent)
  • Thais (28 percent)

European vacationers are more likely to disengage, with Danes (8 percent), Finns (12 percent) and Germans (16 percent) being least likely to check in daily on work. All this email checking is causing more stress for many travelers as well, most acute among Japanese (61 percent), Germans (51 percent), Argentines (51 percent) and Spaniards (51 percent) compared with Thais (30 percent).

Not surprisingly, nearly half (45 percent) globally say that their impending workload after a vacation affects how long they plan to be away – something that Thais (74 percent), Hong Kongers (67 percent) and Japanese (64 percent) are most likely to consider in their vacation planning.

In addition, almost half (48 percent) say they have had to cancel or postpone a vacation due to work – also much more common among Asians, with Thais (75 percent), Emiratis (70 percent) and Indians (67 percent) most likely to have fallen victim.

Speaking at a press event hosted by Expedia Thailand today, Taya Rogers, Actress, Model and VJ shared her views on managing a hectic work schedule, and striking the right balance to explore the world. “My job in the entertainment industry can take up a lot of my time, leaving very little room to explore and see the world, unwinding with my loved ones. The upside, however, is that I do get to travel while on the job quite often. So, it does help to plan your schedule well and remind yourself to soak in the atmosphere and relax. Whether it’s a trip to a local spa, some retail therapy, or driving down a coastal road with a great view, nothing makes me happier than going on adventures- big or small- leaving me rejuvenated and relaxed to perform better at work”, she said

At Expedia, we pride ourselves on making travel simple and affordable, to help people go places and gain new perspectives and experiences. We hope to see more Thai workers and their family, take some time off to enjoy the countryside in Thailand or jump on a flight for a trip to any of the neighboring countries for a weekend getaway,” Simon concluded.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.