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Trending Now: American Employees Being Offered More Paid Vacation Time

2 Dec, 2015

By: Tracey Schelmetic
Employees’ Love of Travel Folding into Decision on the Part of Workplaces

Americans love to travel. That’s not exactly news to sports event planners, who spend plenty of time investigating sites and comparing cities in order to get the best locations, venues and infrastructure.

And the travel pump is primed. We already know, for example, that baby boomers love to travel; in fact, they consider travel a necessity, rather than a luxury, and will pay for services that enhance the travel experience. RB Thomas, executive director of the International Senior Softball Association has noted that the 50-and-up crowd is “the demographic with the most disposable income,” and for that reason, makes an excellent target market.

In addition to encouraging their children to take part in travel teams, adults are participating in sports – with some surprising trends. In fact, one highlight of a report put together by the World Travel Market (WTM) put together by Euromonitor International is that when it comes to sports travel, golf – which has reigned supreme in recent years – is being supplanted by cycling-related tourism in the U.S. A trend called “The Rise of Middle Aged Men in Lycra,” or MAMILs, is expected to have an impact on the tourism industry as cycling takes a larger chunk of the leisure time this demographic.

The only thing holding back those who want to travel is time off from work. Even those who get a tiny amount of vacation – a week or two, if any at all – don’t always use it. According to recent data from the U.S. Travel Association, 40 percent of Americans do not use all their allotted vacation time, and 13 percent take none at all.

The WTM report found that Americans definitely would like to travel more. The good news is that workplaces are listening.

According to the report, a small but growing number of companies are offering greater – or even unlimited -- vacation time to create a happier, loyal and motivated staff, which could have a substantial effect on travel bookings. At the WTM event, a session entitled “the American Dream Part 2" discussed how employers are using greater time off to improve employee engagement and mental well-being by more closely matching the European model. European employees are typically offered an average of five weeks of paid vacations per year.

The trend may be showing up in international travel numbers. Last year, more than 68 million Americans traveled abroad. This was a record number, and represented a 10 percent increase from the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. This marks the first time there’s been a double-digit increase in international travel by Americans in a decade. The top three destinations for Americans traveling abroad remain unchanged, however: they are still Mexico, Canada and Europe.

And just as in the U.S., those abroad are willing to spend more for the travel experience. In Europe, more upscale hostels, called “poshtels,” are bidding for the business of more cost-conscious, style-seeking consumers by glamourizing their properties to compete with boutique hotels.

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