Malaysians still feeling holiday deprived

THE 2017 Vacation Deprivation Study, commissioned by Expedia, ranked Malaysia as the second-most holiday-deprived country in Asia, with two-thirds of Malaysians (65%) describing themselves as holiday deprived.

The study also reported that a little more than half of the Malaysian respondents reported that they had cancelled their holiday plans due to work.

This is, in spite of, Malaysians enjoying 18 days of public holidays on top of the average annual leave of 18 days.

The study, which looked at the holiday habits of over 15,000 working adults across 30 countries - with sample sizes based on a similar percentage of each country's population - was presented by Expedia Southeast Asia and India general manager Simon Fiquet (pix) to the media at a recent event.

According to Fiquet, the number of Malaysian respondents in the survey was between 300 and 400 people, and 'holiday' in this study is defined as going away and doing something different.

The primary reasons cited by Malaysians for not taking their holidays are budget or affordability issues, the desire to save up holiday days for longer holidays, and the inability to get away from work.

On one hand, while 54% of respondents reported spending time dreaming of a holiday at work and 72% believed that it is their right to take a holiday without feeling guilty, 35% of them stated that they still checked their work-related emails or voicemails when on holidays, with 38% of them saying they ended up feeling more stressed after doing so.

“As one of the most socially-engaged markets in the world, it is not surprising that employees in Malaysia find it hard to detach themselves from work,” said Fiquet, who added that this corroborates the data that Malaysians don’t get to fully enjoy their holiday.

Fiquet said that in the seven years that Expedia has been in Malaysia and the 17 years that it had been conducting the survey, Malaysia has constantly been in the top ranking of the holiday-deprived.

According to the study, 77% of Malaysians surveyed admitted that they feel more relaxed after a holiday, which helped in making them more productive, focused, and able to think more holistically back at work.

“At Expedia, we put in tremendous effort to make travel simple and affordable to help people go places and gain new perspectives and experiences,” said Fiquet.

"With the 2018 public holidays and long weekend travel calendar already planned out, this can help Malaysians to maximise their leave and go on more holidays, at least a short refresh from long weekend getaways, to enhance their personal and professional well being."