Businesses Get Customized Hazard-Readiness Scores and Recommendations

The Takeaway: The research reserve administered a self-assessment for businesses to become more resilient in the face of hazardous weather.

Thirty-six Kennebunk and Kennebunkport beach-based businesses are better prepared for future hazards following self-assessments that gave each company a customized tourism-resilience score and recommended actions for improvement. Business leaders will meet with the project team one year later to measure their progress. (Previously a “bomb cyclone” windstorm cut power for days to 480,000 residents and companies, driving home the need for this assessment.)

These businesses are far ahead of their peers. A recent CNBC survey showed that only eight percent of business owners considered the environment critical to their business, a serious misreading of the threat. At least 40 percent of small businesses never open their doors again following a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Beach-based businesses are critical to the York County ocean economy, which in 2014 totaled $704 million, employed more than 13,000 people, and paid out $559 million in wages. Nearly 50 percent of the state’s ocean economy comes from the tourism and recreation sector.

This resilience index was adapted from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Tourism Resilience Index. It applies to natural and man-made disasters as well as economic downturns. Lessons learned will be shared with local chambers of commerce, municipalities, adaptation professionals, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The Maine project was led by the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and supported by a Science Collaborative grant through the National Estuarine Research Reserves. (2018)

More Information: Tourism Resilience Index

Partners: Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce, Laudholm Trust, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, Town of Kennebunkport, Wells Research Reserve