Sea level rise and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change currently impact Maine’s coastline and are anticipated to increase in frequency and strength. Beach-based businesses, a powerful economic engine for Maine, are generally underprepared for storm surge and coastal flooding. Yet lessons learned from previous disasters underscore how important the recovery of businesses is to the overall recovery of a region’s economy. A 2016 Science Transfer project led by the Wells Reserve adapted and transferred the Tourism Resilience Index, previously developed for the Gulf of Mexico, to Southern Maine.
This index is a self-assessment tool for tourism industry leaders and businesses that serves as 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.