Reluctant Tourists

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SummaryOne reason behind the strength of Asian economies could be that Asians work harder, take less leave.

It seems there is more to the stereotype pegging Asians as more hard-working than their Western counterparts than just hearsay. A survey conducted by travel website Expedia has found that Asians, Indians included, work the longest hours and take the fewest holidays as compared to employees in the US, eurozone and the UK. According to the survey, the average vacation period taken by Indians has fallen from 25 days a year in 2011 to 20 this year. And it’s not because they don’t get holidays from employers—most employees get at least 20 days of leave and Indian bosses are the fourth-best in approving leave for their employees. The most-cited reason behind this reluctance to leave the workplace, according to the survey, is that Indians love to accumulate their leave for one long vacation. Often, however, due to personal or professional commitments, these leaves lapse unutilised. Among our Asian counterparts, Korean, Singaporean and Taiwanese workers pull a median of 44-hour work weeks, compared to 40 hours in the US (the most common amount) and 35 hours in the Netherlands (the least among the 22 countries surveyed).

In keeping with the European argument that there are countries within the eurozone that are dragging down others, the survey finds that Europeans as a whole treat vacations more as a “duty rather than a perk”. Workers in Spain, France, Britain, Sweden and Norway take all the holidays they are entitled to year after year (between 25 and 30 days, depending on country). Puts the strength of Asian economies in context, doesn’t it?

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