Canadians need more “joie de vivre,” global vacation deprivation survey reveals

- Canadians receive just over half the vacation days of the French --

TORONTO, ON – May 17, 2005 – Employees in several European countries enjoy more time off than Canadian workers and their U.S. counterparts, according to the first Global Vacation Deprivation survey commissioned by Expedia and conducted by Ipsos Reid in Canada and Harris Interactive® in the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

France leads the pack with a whopping average of 39 vacation days given per year; followed by Germany with 27, the Netherlands with 25 and Great Britain at 23. North Americans are at the bottom of the list with an average of 21 vacation days per year given in Canada, and a paltry 12 in the U.S.

“Many European governments mandate, on average, between four and five weeks of paid vacation,” explains sociologist and stress expert Beverly Beuermann-King. “On the other hand, Canadians are entitled to a base of two weeks paid vacation, and there are no national requirements in the U.S. As Canadians, we are reliant on our employers to reward us with extra vacation time.”

The vacation game of give and take
The survey also revealed the total amount of estimated vacation days that each participating country “gives back” each year and considering how little time we receive, we are generous! Canadian and U.S. employees are the most kind, offering up three days per employee on average. So how generous are we? In total, Canadian employees gave back a staggering 40 million days! In comparison, the average employee in France gives back just a single day and the average Brit gives back just half a day.

“Canadians are conditioned to value productivity as opposed to work-life balance,” says Beuermann-King. “Time away from work, especially stress-free time on vacation, is essential to maintaining mental and physical health, as well as relationships with friends and family. Canadians need to be cognizant about letting vacations days lapse.”

Work clearly comes first
Work is a common culprit for canceling or postponing vacations. In France, one in four (25 per cent) workers have cancelled or postponed a vacation due to work obligations. In Canada, the number is slightly less at 23 per cent, closely followed by Germany at 22 per cent. In the U.S., they may not get as many days, but they are also least likely to have to cancel due to work, as just 19 per cent said that work had encroached on their vacation plans.

“Most people are hard-working by nature,” says Beuermann-King. “While work obligations can get in the way of vacations, it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of having to cancel a much anticipated break, or having to interrupt quality time with family and loved ones.”

Is there such a thing as too much vacation?
Canadians seem to make the most of their vacation time, as more than half (54 per cent) said that they return from a vacation feeling better about their job and feeling more productive.

The most popular way Canadians plan on using their vacation time is to take a two-week escape (42 per cent) while using the rest of the days here and there.

Conversely, while many French employees plan to enjoy a long summer holiday of three to four weeks (45 per cent), only 35 per cent return to work feeling better about their job and feeling more productive.

“Just going away for a long weekend doesn’t really give the body and mind a chance to properly unwind, and being away from work for too long revs up the anxiety levels over what we’ll find when we get back to our desk,” continues Beuermann-King. “The two-week escape is probably the perfect break. It allows for time away from the everyday stresses, but with the opportunity to get back into a regular routine before feeling out of touch.”

Expedia.ca offers vacation relief
Expedia.ca believes that everyone deserves a great vacation. By offering Canadians easy and effective tools to pre-plan and custom create the trip that’s right for every individual, no Canadian should be vacation deprived.

“I've learned from personal experience that if I don't book off the time, I miss out on vacations," says Sean Shannon, Managing Director at Expedia.ca. "This Victoria Day weekend, take a moment to talk about where you'd like to go with your time off. If you need inspiration, Expedia’s Holiday Maker lets you explore options so you can create your perfect trip.”

Expedia offers vacation budget relief
The cost of vacations is referenced by 18 per cent of Canadians as a reason they don’t take their vacation. Expedia has just kicked off “Get Going Canada” a summer long promotion in partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Toyota Canada to encourage Canadians to vacation across our wonderful country. Expedia is offering up to an extra 25 per cent off its terrific rates at a selection of Canadian hotels.

“Most Canadians have a vacation budget,” says Sean Shannon. “Get Going Canada showcases wonderful and affordable vacations that are close to home in one comprehensive place to make trip planning a snap.”
 

About the Canadian survey

Ipsos-Reid conducted the Canadian poll from April 8th - 10th, 2005. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1274 employed adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire employed adult Canadian population been polled. For full tabular results, please visit www.ipsos.ca.

About the U.S. and European survey

Harris Interactive® fielded the online survey on behalf of Expedia.com between April 15 and 19, 2005 among nationwide cross-sections of 2,130 adults aged 18+ in the United States, 2,124 adults aged 16+ in Great Britain, 2,236 adults aged 16+ in France, 2,236 adults aged 16+ in Germany, and 1,200 adults aged 16-64 in the Netherlands. The European data were weighted to be representative of the total adult populations of each country on the basis of region, age, sex, education, income and propensity to be online. The U.S. data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and propensity to be online.

Though this online sample is not a probability sample, in theory, with probability samples of this size, Harris Interactive estimates with 95 percent certainty that the results for the English, French and German samples have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points and sampling error for the U.S. and Dutch samples is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the following sub-sample results: U.S. employed adults (1,329), British employed adults (1,297), French employed adults (1,320), German employed adults (1,467), and Dutch employed adults (1,000) is higher and varies.

 


Expedia is an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI).

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Scott Tabachnick at Edelman
(416) 979-1120
scott.tabachnick@edelman.com

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