Who works harder? Aussies or Americans? What does this mean for tourism?

In this article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australians are touted as working the hardest out of people in the developed world.

Here are the statistics given to prove the point. In Australia:

  • Almost 60% of the people with full-time jobs don’t take all of their four-week vacation time.
  • Years of this practice have many people with 8 weeks of unused time.
  • Corporate men ages 35-49 with kids under 12 are the biggest culprits of this practice.

I find the statistics interesting since I don’t know many jobs in the U.S. where people have a starting vacation time of more than two weeks. Many begin a job with less than that. Many folks don’t even get a paid vacation. In order for people to have acquired eight weeks of unused time in the U.S., they would have had to have not taken ANY vacation for at least four years if they are the ones with the two-week time frame. In a Gadling post in 2007, Willy pointed out the U.S. statistics which don’t bode well for those looking for R&R on a beach somewhere.

However, given that if the Australian statistics are indeed correct, and who really cares anyway, the larger point that the article makes is important indeed. Unused vacation time means unspent tourist dollars. In today’s economy, tourism could be a big economic boost to many parts of both countries–Australia and the U.S.

In Australia, the not taken time equates to $31 billion in holiday pay. Yowza! Hoping to tap into the dough, Tourism Australia has a program called “No Leave, No Life,” in order to get the business community to buy into the idea of the importance of taking that vacation time.

I think the U.S. needs to tap into the idea of more vacation time, period. If people are given four weeks, they may take two at least.

As part of the campaign in Australia, and I’d bet the U.S., part of the TV and print ads need to address the issue of how important it is for dads to spend time with their children. AND show dads having fun doing it.

Anyone with kids who are bickering at home with each other and arguing about cleaning their rooms, or whining from the backseat, “How long before we get there?” may think that work is actually more relaxing than that family vacation.