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Messages from the President

Vacation Days Vital for Thriving Economy - April

By: Anna Tanski | April 13, 2015

Luckily, a well-timed girlfriend trip to Florida the first week in March meant I dodged the last brutal sub-zero cold snap of the season. Better yet, palm trees, gorgeous sandy beaches and a mild case of mom guilt inspired me to book our June family vacation while I was still enjoying my current one.

Working in the tourism industry, I�m keenly aware of the positive impact vacations have on our local economy. 3.5 million visitors choose Duluth as their getaway destination each year generating a $780 million boost to our economy.

Based on a recent study conducted by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association, use of vacation days or paid time off (PTO) is declining, which is a concern for communities such as Duluth where many local businesses rely on visitor traffic to sustain their bottom line.

Late last fall, U.S. Travel Association released statistics outlining the economic impact of vacation days going unused. The numbers are staggering.

American workers lost 169 million days of paid time off in 2013. These are days that could not be banked or rolled over into the following year. Staying on the clock and forgoing time off translated into an estimated $52.4 billion in lost benefits.

The study also shows overall vacation usage at the lowest level in nearly 40 years, with an average of 16 days taken in 2013 versus 20.3 as recently as 2000. �Work Martyr� is the emerging term used to define individuals who feel they�re gaining a leg up on co-workers by limiting time away from their job.

However, working more doesn�t necessarily translate into being more productive. Investing time to relax and recharge is invigorating. Even taking a few days off to complete a home improvement project, read a new book or clean out closets can be all it takes to jump back into work with renewed energy and focus.

National Travel & Tourism Week, May 2-10, 2015 is the opportunity for destinations to remind Americans there�s tremendous value in spending time away from work with family or friends. As part of this initiative, Visit Duluth kicks off our Spring/Summer marketing push in late April to get in front of people as their summer getaway plans take shape.

Messaging focuses on family adventure, couples reconnecting and exploring outdoors. Images intentionally targeted toward creating an emotional response to planning a Duluth vacation.

Connections are strengthened, memories made and life balance achieved by committing to using paid time off. I intend to use every one of my vacation days this year and hope you do as well!

Anna Tanski, President/CEO