With jobs at risk and the U.S. economy still struggling, more than half of all American workers are too worried and busy to take...

With jobs at risk and the U.S. economy still struggling, more than half of all American workers are too worried and busy to take all their vacation days, a new survey by Westin Hotels & Resorts has found.

According to the Westin Hotels ‘Wellness in Travel’ study of 1,500 Americans, over 50 per cent of American workers fail to take all their vacation days although 58 per cent of respondents feel they are in more need of vacation than last year. However, 64 per cent have canceled vacation due to work worries.

The cancellations come as respondents increasingly feel the need for time away from their desks. More than 67 per cent say they feel healthier on vacation, while 64 per cent sleep better while taking time off. Rest and relaxation can also contribute to matrimonial harmony: More than half of those surveyed feel that taking a vacation contributes to a stronger marriage.

As a result of the findings, Starwood Hotels’ Westin Hotels & Resorts brand has developed a campaign to educate consumers on the health benefits of taking vacation and encourage them to take some needed time off. The campaign highlights the importance of taking time off for stress relief, productivity and health and gives consumers the chance to win a free vacation.

Consumers can visit www.travelandbewell.com to learn more about the health benefits of vacation, travel tips and sign an online pledge promising to take their remaining vacation days before the end of the year.

To encourage consumers to take care of themselves by enjoying vacation days they have earned, each person who pledges to take time off will be entered to win one of 200 four-day vacations at any Westin Hotel in North America. And for those consumers why try their luck but don’t win, the Westin brand is offering a free night when they stay three nights or more. Consumers can visit www.westin.com/weekends to book.

The ‘Wellness in Travel’ survey is not the only recent research to highlight the health and wellness benefits of vacation. Recent clinical research has proven the clear link between taking vacations and health:

● According to the Framingham Heart Study (2000) men who take regular vacations are 32 per cent less likely to die of heart attacks than those who do not; women who do not take vacations are up to eight times more likely to suffer from heart disease than women who take two vacation breaks a year;

● Women who take a holiday once a year or more are almost twice as apt to be satisfied with their marriage as those who escape less often, researchers at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin say; and

● The more often people engage in leisure activities, including going on vacation, the more likely they are to have a low body-mass index, a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reports.

After a survey it commissioned found most Americans feel under too much pressure at work to take all their vacation days, Westin Hotels & Resorts launched a campaign through the website www.travelandbewell.com to educate consumers on the health benefits of taking vacation and encourage them to take some needed time off

Westin’s survey revealed Americans’ need for rest and relaxation is reaching dire proportions:

● 48 per cent of those surveyed are happier and more positive in their workplaces and personal lives after taking a vacation;

● More than three-fifths (64 per cent) of the respondents had cancelled or postponed a vacation this year;

● On vacation, over 30 per cents of respondents check in with their work every other day and 25 per cent of respondents check in every hour;

● More than two-fifths (41 per cent) of the respondents say they usually require three to four days to unwind on a vacation; and

● More than half of the respondents (58 per cent) felt that compared to last year they were more in need of a vacation now.

For more information about Westin Hotels & Resorts, go to www.Westin.com.

Commissioned by Westin Hotels & Resorts, the ‘Wellness in Travel’ study is based on a survey conducted by STUDYLOGIC LLC via telephone of approximately 1,500 American adults who are professionally employed.

Respondents were divided into two categories based on gender: 747 males and 711 females; two categories based on household income: 594 executives with annual household income under $50,000 and 864 executives with household income of $50,000 or greater; and two categories based on employment: 963 executives who are employed by others and 333 executives who are self-employed. The survey consisted of nineteen questions. Interviews were conducted between August 1 and August 15, 2010. The survey averaged 18 minutes in length and contains a margin of error in the totals of +/-3 per cent.