Tourism Resilience Index
Developed by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium for tourism industry leaders and businesses, this tool in downloadable PDF form is a simple and inexpensive method of predicting if individual tourism businesses—and the regional tourism industry—are prepared to maintain operations during and after disasters. The coastal tourism industry can use the index to identify strengths and weaknesses in its system; the index helps to identify action items that the industry can work toward to address system vulnerabilities and maintain long-term viability.
Modeled after the Coastal Resilience Index, the index aims to generate a quick snapshot of a business’s resilience, covering business and operations plans, disaster preparedness, marketing, workforce issues, and more. Each category contains questions designed to get business owners and managers thinking about the “what if's” that may come with an unexpected catastrophe—ranging from the unexpected unavailability of an owner or key employee to fires, tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes, and other hazards. The answers are tabulated to determine whether the business has a “low,” “medium,” or “high” level of resilience for each category, allowing them to identify particular items to address to increase the resilience of their tourism businesses.
A 2016 Science Transfer Project led by the Wells National Estuary Research Reserve adapted the index to create a Tourism Resilience Index for New England, aiming to decrease southern Maine’s economic vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters by enabling beachfront businesses to assess their ability to maintain operations during and after a disaster. To date, the work has facilitated 30 self-assessments with small businesses in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk, Maine. The lessons learned continue to inform the Wells Reserve Coastal Training Program’s efforts related to resilience, including sharing best practices for disaster preparedness with southern Maine businesses and chambers.