71% of the respondents in Singapore and Italy said they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ vacation deprived, making them the most vacation-deprived countries in the world, ahead of South Korea (70%), France (70%) and Malaysia (68%).

Evidently, the lack of ability to travel overseas is deterring a lot of us from using up our vacation time at all. 

According to Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation® Study, Singapore has topped the vacation deprivation rankings for the first time, dethroning workers in South Korea who admitted to be the most vacation deprived in the previous year, i.e. 2019.

The survey covered 9,200 consumers in 16 markets globally, including 300 in Singapore.

Ranking: Countries with the most vacation deprived respondents globally

  1. Singapore 71% | Italy 71%
  2. South Korea 70% | France 70%
  3. Malaysia 68%
  4. Australia 65%
  5. USA 64%
  6. Canada 63% | UK 63%
  7. Hong Kong 59%
  8. Taiwan 58%
  9. Mexico 57% | New Zealand 57% 
  10. Germany 50%
  11. Japan 45%
  12. Thailand 41%

Overall, vacation deprivation is on the rise in 10 out of the 16 markets surveyed across the globe. As such, 71% of the respondents in Singapore and Italy said they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ vacation deprived, making them the most vacation-deprived countries in the world, ahead of South Korea (70%), France (70%) and Malaysia (68%).

Singapore's state of vacation deprivation 

According to the study, Singaporeans used five less vacation days in 2020 compared to the amount they would normally take in a typical year. Despite the average number of vacation days received remaining the same at 16 days annually in 2019 and 2020, Singaporeans only took an average of 10 vacation days in 2020, much lower than the 15 vacation days they would usually take in a year. 

Of the Singaporeans surveyed, those aged 18-34 were found to be the most vacation deprived group, with 85% identifying with the sentiment. This was followed by those in the 35-49 age range (68%), and those aged above 50 (51%).

Interestingly, respondents who reside in the East of Singapore also appear to be more vacation deprived (77%) than those residing in the West (69%).

“Singaporeans are some of the most avid travellers in the region, and when we consider the lack of options for inter-city travel within the country, it is of little surprise that they are the most vacation deprived people globally this year," said Lavinia Rajaram, APAC Head of Communications, Brand Expedia.

"But they have adapted well while embracing the nationalistic spirit of rediscovering Singapore while supporting local tourism through staycations and local activities.” 

Will people travel without a vaccine? 

With the reduction in vacation days taken, 90% of respondents in Singapore said that they now value vacations more than ever before, followed by 89% of South Koreans and 87% of Malaysians. In addition, 87% of Singaporeans believe that travel can help to create important memories and be one of the best things to come out of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, 67% of Singapore respondents said that their employers have been supportive of them taking vacation time, up from 60% in 2019 and 55% in 2018.

As Singaporeans continue to look forward to the resumption of international travel in 2021, they are already planning to utilise 16 vacation days on average, six more than what they took in 2020. However, Singaporeans also rank among the most cautious travellers in the world. Only 18% have booked travel for 2021 – lower than the global average of 21%.

When asked about their approach to booking travel in 2021, 44% of Singapore respondents said that future travel planning will highly depend on the success of the COVID-19 vaccine – coming in only behind the Canadians, with 45% of them planning to do the same. In addition, 41% of Hong Kong respondents said they are waiting until the latter half of 2021 to travel.

In contrast, consumers in France, Germany, Japan and Thailand are much less concerned about travelling without a vaccine, with less than a quarter of the respondents highlighting the need to wait for a vaccine before they book travel.

Photo / Expedia

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