When was the last time you took a vacation? If you can’t recall, you’re likely part of the majority of Americans (52 percent) who forfeit well-deserved time off from work each year.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, a staggering 705 million paid vacation days went unused in 2017. While Coloradans take the most of any state – 20.3 vacation days and three days more than the national average of 17.2 – only 57 percent of those vacation days were used for travel.
Research shows the most effective remedy for American workers who want to use more vacation days is better planning. So for the second consecutive year, National Plan for Vacation Day will be celebrated on the last Tuesday in January.
On Jan. 29, National Plan for Vacation Day encourages Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year at the start of the year. Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once and report greater levels of happiness at work and home. Planning ahead not only reduces last-minute expenditures and stress, it also gives workers something to look forward to in the new year.
The Durango Area Tourism Office exists to help travelers plan the perfect vacation, so we are fully onboard with this campaign as we reflect on 2018 and plan our strategy for the new year. Last year presented challenges and opportunities for DATO to evaluate how we are not only marketing, but also managing, our destination moving forward.
In 2019, DATO resolves to disperse travelers to less-visited, off-peak destinations and manage responsible growth for our region. For example, promoting lesser-known events and activities during the shoulder seasons, such as Snowdown and Bluegrass Meltdown, or voluntourism (volunteer tourism) opportunities. Volunteering can be a life-changing experience. Both visitors and locals alike can give something back in the new year by helping maintain and rebuild trails in our community.
Under the guidance of the Colorado Tourism Office, DATO will promote “Leave No Trace Seven Principles” that encourages visitors to “Care for Colorado,” including wildfire prevention and education. Proudly, Colorado is the first state to form a strategic partnership with Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, which makes it easy for destinations to adopt and implement best practices for sustainable tourism.
Finally, DATO is working to refine the Visit Durango brand. This includes streamlined tools that make it easier for potential visitors to plan their Colorado dream vacation. Furthermore, the organization will continue to invest in resources that provide better data and insights into our visitors, while balancing the needs of our community.
This month, we encourage you to start the new year right with positive, achievable goals. Travel broadens our perspective and helps us understand and appreciate other cultures. The experiences you gain from visiting a new city far outweigh the financial gains of sitting behind a desk and working overtime.
Rather than wait another year for life to happen, resolve to take your well-deserved time off and plan your vacation on Jan. 29.
Theresa Graven is the PR strategist for the Durango Area Tourism Office. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a writing concentration from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, and has lived in Colorado for more than 20 years, including the past 10 years in Durango. She can be reached at 247-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.