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Tourism and Business Resilience Workshops Upcoming in Virginia Beach & Williamsburg

By Amy Matzke-Fawcett

Is your tourism or service industry business prepared for the increasing threat of flooding and severe weather?

Two interactive workshops scheduled for Feb. 26 and 28 in Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, respectively, will help business owners and managers assess their organizations' vulnerability and provide tools to increase resilience. The free workshops are to be held from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and will include breakfast, lunch and materials. Advanced registration is required.

Registration is available at the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency website.

Faculty at Old Dominion, in partnership with the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency and the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary Law School, conducted an assessment and evaluation of the resilience of the tourism industry at the Virginia Beach oceanfront in 2016 and 2017. Based on their findings, Lindsay Usher, assistant professor in the Park, Recreation, and Tourism Studies program, and her colleagues developed workshops to increase resilience to severe weather events and improve business continuity in the tourism and service sectors.

According to the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, tourism contributed $1.4 billion to the Virginia Beach economy and generated $256 million in salaries in 2015. However, researchers found that hotels, restaurants and other tourism businesses remain vulnerable to severe weather events including wind-driven rain and flooding from coastal storms.

Attendees will learn what steps to take to increase their business' resilience and ability to continue operations during, and after, these events.

Guest speakers for both workshops will be Jim and Annemarie Dickerson, owners and managers of Francis Scott Key Family Resort in Ocean City, Md. Jim Dickerson is also the owner and managing director of Island Water World, a marine retail business with a 60-slip marina and seven stores in St. Maarten, Grenada, St. Lucia and Curacao.

The workshops are hosted by the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency, the Old Dominion University Resilience Collaborative, Virginia Sea Grant, the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary Law School and are sponsored by the Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance, Gold Key|PHR, The Miles Agency, the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, Fairfield Inn and Suites in Williamsburg, the City of Williamsburg, and Williamsburg Economic Development.

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